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Alberto de la Fuente

MEXICO - Economy

Alberto de la Fuente

President, Alberto de la Fuente

Bio

Alberto de la Fuente holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and international relations from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). Additionally, he has a master’s degree in economics and history from the University of Oxford and an MBA from the Australian School of Business in Sydney. His career includes positions at the Office of the President of the Republic, the Ministry of Energy, and the Energy Regulatory Commission. He has served as President & CEO of Shell Mexico since 2012. de la Fuente chaired the Energy Group of the British Chamber of Commerce from 2013-2016 and was president of the Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies from 2016-2020.

"Security is a highly relevant issue here, one that impacts all companies."
Comprising the presidents and CEOs of 63 international companies with operations in Mexico, CEEG works to collectively tackle issues that impact all sectors.
What is the main focus of CEEG at the moment?

CEEG has significant exposure to the Mexican market, allowing us to interact with the Mexican and global governments as a consolidated entity that can solve real problems in Mexico. The council comprises 63 companies covering over 20 sectors. Accordingly, we have clear expertise in almost every industry of the economy, whether retail, insurance, car manufacturing, banking, or energy. We concentrate on issues that impact all sectors rather than specific challenges occurring in a particular industry. For example, nearshoring will impact almost every sector, so this is a significant focus for us. Given the large number of global companies in Mexico, we often help promote global developments such as gender equality, greater inclusion, or ethics and compliance across all sectors, given that these are issues that affect us all.

How does CEEG address security issues that global companies face in Mexico?

Security is a highly relevant issue here, one that impacts all companies. CEEG has a specific committee that addresses security issues and is in direct contact with the Secretary of Public Security in Mexico. We have also raised this issue with the National Guard’s economy secretary. We interact directly with the government to achieve several objectives, such as improving coordination between different government levels or providing them with feedback or real-life case studies to overcome specific challenges. Our members include multinationals such as Danone, Nestlé, and DHL, which all have various shipping and logistics operations by road. And we have mapped out the most significant security risks and threats along transport routes and continuously work with the government to make these transport routes safer. We have specific working groups with the participation of other private-sector entities and direct lines of communication with the authorities.

Is CEEG working on any projects or initiatives to incentivize economic growth in Mexico?

Several public announcements about growth and investment were made by companies in CEEG this year. For example, DHL is considering a USD120-million investment in its hub in Querétaro, Schneider Electric is looking to invest MXN1.3 billion to optimize its plant, Bosch has made almost MXN20 billion in assets into its technology over the last few years, Toyota announced a USD300-million investment in its plant in Guanajuato, and General Motors has also announced its intention to invest MXN1 billion to develop an electric car plant in the north of Mexico. These announcements only affirm our members’ long-term commitment to Mexico, and I expect even more reports in the coming year.

Do you believe Mexico can become a nearshoring hub?

Nearshoring is genuinely the trending topic at the moment. Investment is flowing in, though as a country, we may not fully maximize our potential to attract companies. While there is significant momentum, the government was not fully prepared even though it had had an FTA with the US for two decades and had experienced considerable export growth during this time. Mexico is indeed an attractive investment destination, mainly due to its strength in manufacturing. Our manufacturing has evolved from simple to intermediate, and the next step involves more high-tech manufacturing, which China excels in. Nonetheless, gaps in our workforce’s competencies might necessitate upskilling and reskilling efforts to secure more investments. Additionally, logistics, internet connectivity, and other related aspects face hurdles. Viewing nearshoring as an integrated North American bloc, we consider ways to bolster the region’s strength and competitiveness on a global scale. Infrastructure improvements are essential at the national level and in collaboration with the US and Canada. Enhancing customs integration, building more bridges, roads, and railroads, and genuinely integrating value chains across countries are pivotal. Mexico is viewed as the door to the US, but many forget Mexico has 54 trade agreements with different countries around the world. We can also be a point of export as a region to compete with the rest of the world.

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