According to the National Registry of Foreign Investments from the Federal Ministry of Economy, there are 216 Mexican partnerships in Nuevo Leon with Korean investment in their capital and the investment flow during the period 1999-2018 has been of 1,965 million dollars.
The relationship of Nuevo Leon with South Korea in commercial and industrial terms is very dynamic and is increasing. It is enough saying that Nuevo Leon has the 1stplace in investment destination from South Korea.
One of the reasons why Korean companies are interested on investing in Nuevo Leon is its high industrial capacity, as well as South Korea, considered one of the Asian Tigers in economic development.
In the last four years were announced a total of 66 investment projects from South Korea. It is estimated that such projects represent an investment of 3,972 million dollars.
The dominant sectors of Korean investments in Mexico and the State are the automotive, advanced manufacturing and logistics.
Some of the most representative Korean companies in Nuevo Leon are KIA Motors, LG, Hyundai Mobis, Nifco Korea, Kunhwa, Top Metal, Daewon, Dy Auto, Myunghwa and GS Caltex.
“It is worth underlining that we currently have a commercial deficit with them, since we bought much more than we have sold to them. Unlike China, country with which Nuevo Leon has had an important deficit for several years, the deficit with South Korea emerged recently, as of the investment of KIA Motors,” said Samuel Pena Guzman, undersecretary of Investment and Industrial Promotion from the Ministry of Economy and Labor in Nuevo Leon.
The main products imported by Nuevo Leon from Korea are metallic products, electronic equipment, electric generation equipment, home appliances and transportation equipment.
“This mostly results from we still have too much to work with local integration of suppliers of Korean industries established in the State. We already have successful cases in this integration activity such as LG company, which although Korean investors usually go to their suppliers, we have progressed in much with this company, with which we have a close relation since 2003,” he said.
Regarding the encouragement to economic growth Korean companies have represented in the entity, the undersecretary exemplified that in the last years the municipality of Pesqueria went from 20 thousand inhabitants to 100 thousand, such growth is due to the establishment of Asian industries, mainly KIA and its suppliers.
“Pesqueria is the municipality with the highest growth in Mexico currently, originating in turn commerce and business in the municipality, giving a strong encouragement to their economy as never seen before. Together with this, the KIA plant in Pesqueria has achieved being recognized as the best in productivity worldwide, situation that locates Nuevo Leon in the global eye and promotes even more the interest of investors in our State and on its workforce,” he noted.
Regarding the future of the relation between both countries, for some decades South Korea has had commercial interests in Mexico and has try signing a Free Trade Agreement, this due to the geographic location and natural resources the country has.
With the arrival of the current American president Donald Trump in the United States, trade relationships between Mexico and the North American nation have changed, therefore Mexico has considered assessing its opportunities in other markets and South Korea is one of them, since it represents wide trade exchange options and investment for its industry, technology and economic system of free market.
“On the other hand, it is important to note the way in which negotiations of the new USMCA are developed will influence in an important manner the investors plan around the world, including Asian, of course, anticipating that more Korean companies will establish in Nuevo Leon,” he added.
Regarding future investments, the official said that it is observed to continue with the commercial missions to Korea aiming to continue promoting Nuevo Leon as the best option to invest.
“The investment announcements done belong to the automotive, advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors; in addition, the company KIA has many probabilities of fulfilling an expansion on its Pesqueria plant within the next five years,” he said.
Finally, Pena Guzman explained that the wave of Korean investments had its “Boom” on the past three years and precise that the task is to potentialize the benefit of the arrival of those investments through the use of the economic revenue they generate, working with local supply to integrate it to the Asian industry in the State.
HIGHLIGHTS RELATION NUEVO LEON – SOUTH KOREA
Armando Renato Balderrama Santander, director of the Center of Asian Studies from UANL, underlined that the cultural relation has also grown since the arrival of KIA Motors, although he added that there was previous presence, not only of companies but of migration through other economic activities.
“Regarding people, the presence of the Korean community in Nuevo Leon was increasingly noticeable through their gastronomical offer, for example. There are more Korean restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, stores, etc. There is also frequent seeing Mexican looking for Korean products and vice versa. Korea is already a fundamental part of Nuevo Leon and in ten years, visiting Nuevo Leon will be also visiting a little of Korea,” he said.
According to the Korean embassy in Mexico, in the country live 10,000 Koreans, from which more than 3,000 are located in Nuevo Leon; this means, 30 % of the Korean population in the country lives in the State. With the establishment of KIA in Pesqueria, the number of Korean inhabitants in Nuevo Leon is already estimated in 6,000 people from the Asian country.
The director said that the arrival of a very important plant such as KIA Motors implies jobs, training, better salaries, among other benefits inside companies supplying the main plant, as well as the possibility of supply of many products and services of the region.
“Challenges of the arrival of KIA Motors to Pesqueria is to serve the needs of urban development in the municipality, which can have better services for Mexican and Korean workers, mainly of infrastructure, as well as safety,” he said.
Finally, Balderrama numbered the qualities that is possible to use from Korean culture in Mexico, among which underlined their corporate education, work culture, meritocracy, the “Can Do Spirit,” the look for social harmony and respect to education as maximum value of a developed society looking for leadership.