The Business Year

Roberto Russildi

MEXICO - Economy

Nuevo León state

Secretary of Economy and Employment, Government of Nuevo León


Roberto Russildi is a chemical engineer with an MBA from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Tec de Monterrey). He has over 35 years of professional experience in industrial production, operations, IT, international business, and management. Prior to being appointed Secretary of Economy and Employment of Nuevo León, he was Secretary of Sustainable Development.

Nuevo León maintains its position as Mexico's strongest and most solid economy, and the most attractive for national and international investments.

In 2018, Nuevo León’s economy outpaced the Mexican economy, and Nuevo León was the top recipient of foreign investment. What factors contributed to these results?

The Secretary of Economy and Employment of Nuevo León reported solid economic growth of around 3% in 2018, record-high FDI, as well as a surge in the manufacturing and construction industries. Exports amounted to around USD40 billion in 2018, and the automotive sector registered the highest participation in that total, with 34.9% of that amount. Among the contributing factors is the availability of a highly skilled labor force and Mexico’s privileged geographical location close to the US, particularly the border crossing in Anáhuac, which is the point of entry of many Mexican exports and the most important for cattle exports to the US. Another advantage is our internationally acclaimed universities, such as ITESM and UANL. These are in addition to an excellent cluster system in the state, globally competitive companies, solid infrastructure, modern industrial parks, two international airports, research centers, and advanced training programs.

There has been an increase of 127% in FDI. What sectors or projects have received this?

The state received USD4.2 billion in FDI in 2018, representing a 127% increase YoY. The state had 13% of the total FDI in Mexico in the last year. In 2018, companies like WeWork, LS Automotive, Renishaw, Conduent, and Digital On Us invested in Nuevo León, generating new and better jobs. Economic growth is also due to reinvestments of companies already based in Nuevo León, which is still attractive, and has seen inflows of FDI from 515 companies. Most of the investment comes from the US, which represents around 56% of FDI, followed by Argentina, with 16%, Spain with 8%, and the Netherlands with 6%. The main sectors participating in FDI are advanced manufacturing, the automotive industry, commerce, and services. The transport equipment manufacturing industry represented 40% with USD1.7 billion. Other sub sectors, such as the basic metal industry, which represents 15.6%, the beverage industry with 8.8%, and electric generation with 8.4%.

In 2017, Business Nuevo León was launched as a way to promote the internationalization of the state’s economy. How have the first few years been for the initiative?

The administration led by governor Jaime Rodrí­guez Calderón established as a policy in the state’s development plan to generate opportunities for growth, employment, and the reduction of poverty. Attracting new national and international investments is key, and the plan aims to promote Nuevo León as a competitive and attractive destination for investments. Business Nuevo León is a brand that identifies as the promoting agency for investment and has different government agencies involved in its objective.

The model to attract FDI to Nuevo León is based in creating an optimal climate to do business. How are you working to strengthen this model?

For many years, we have been creating a working culture, a DNA to be an industrial capital. We are proud of the triple helix model, in which we created the 13 clusters to boost growth in the strategic economic sectors for the state such as automotive, appliances, aerospace, energy, nanotechnology, information technologies, interactive media, housing, and health. Nuevo León also has the largest network of industrial parks, with around 130. The entrepreneurial muscle, qualified labor, infrastructure, business climate, cluster systems, universities, and geographic location are strengths that attract business.

What are your priorities for 2019-2020?

We seek to maintain the state’s leadership status as the most competitive in the country with an intelligent economy, excellent growth, and employment for its 5 million inhabitants. We will continue promoting Nuevo León abroad as a state with solid infrastructure, social peace, and safety to attract more investments, continue to bet on strategic sectors, support the development of SMEs, and position the state as a leader for Industry 4.0 in North America.



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