The federal government will fund the Mayan Train with the 900 million pesos it saves by shutting 46 ProMexico offices around the world.
By the end of February, ProMexico will cease all operations under orders by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Since 2007, the government agency and trust fund was responsible for promoting trade, exports and internationalization of Mexican companies. AMLO said they do not do anything and waste resources.
César Fragoso, head of ProMexico’s sectorial development unit, stated last September that of US$200 billion in direct foreign investment in Mexico, 40 percent was the result of the work carried out by ProMexico.
Mexico’s embassies will instead be in charge of promoting the country’s economy.
The Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor (Inadem), which was established to support entrepreneurs and micro, small and medium-sized Mexican companies, will also stop operations. The Ministry of Economy will take over the functions of that agency.
“I say it in a respectful way, there is not here in Mexico City and in the country, a ProFrancia, a ProAlemania, it is the embassies of those countries that do the promotion work, said Lopez Obrador. “That’s why we will not have ProMexicos in 60 cities around the world.”
Lopez Obrador said this while addressing the XXX Meeting of Ambassadors and Consuls.
ProMexico funds will be used, along with private investment, for the construction of the Mayan Train, the president explained. The construction project consist in more than 1,500 kilometers/932 miles of railroads to connect the entire Yucatan peninsula.
The Secretary of Economy of Mexico, Graciela Márquez Colín, told reporters that the Innovation and Promotion Unit will be established to replace both ProMexico and Inadem.
Márquez Colín said that ProMexico did not meet the needs of the country. He explained that eight out of 10 projects that it supported had to do only with the automotive industry, mostly for large companies such as BMW.
That “could have been more effective for other chains of value,” he said.
ProMexico employed about 200 workers in Mexico City and its 28 regional offices. According to its website, between 2013 and 2018 it attracted investments of 87,932 million pesos, promoted the creation of 316,067 jobs and also promoted 5,028 export projects worth 18,051 million pesos.
The decision was troubling to some.
“The disappearance of ProMexico is one of the major issues that is affecting the export sector and generates problems for micro, small and medium-sized companies that want to venture into the international market,” Juan Carlos Botello Osorio, a researcher at the Universidad Popular Autónoma de Puebla, told Milenio Novedades.
For embassy personnel taking over ProMexico’s duties, the learning curve will be slow, he said.
Sources: Abasto, Produce Bluebook