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Progreso’s tech hub dreams defended as federal overhaul threatens economic zones

Federal plan could undermine the work of 3 state administrations, says Coparmex president

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Progreso’s pier is the largest of its kind in the world. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

While the federal government hints at canceling Progreso’s Special Economic Zone (EEZ), local business leaders plan to continue the program without help from Mexico City.

Using tax incentives, the EEZ entices corporations to build offices or factories and create professional jobs in specific sites throughout Mexico. In Progreso, state officials have envisioned a technology hub.

But federal finance undersecretary Arturo Herrera has signaled the EEZs will be canceled, going the way of many federal programs such as tourism promotion and daycare-center subsidies.

“The economic zones haven’t been working. Little by little, we’re going to move to another model,” Herrera said.

Mexico has six other Special Economic Zones: Puerto Chiapas, Chiapas; Salina Cruz, Oaxaca; Lázaro Cárdenas-La Union, Michoacán and Guerrero; Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz; Seybaplaya, Campeche; and Dos Bocas, Tabasco.

In Yucatan, the president of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE) and the Coparmex, José Antonio Loret de Mola Gómory, disagrees with the federal plan.

The EEZ “is an economic plan that has been working in the last three state administrations,” said Loret de Mola Gómory. “It is not a whim that Yucatan has an EEZ, it is something that we have been working on and we are going to fight to make that happen, and to do it the way it has to be done.”

The federal government’s own website forecasts 33,000 jobs created by the Progreso EEZ.

“The Economic Zone of Progreso would have as a productive vocation the creation of Information and Communication Technologies taking advantage of the presence of more than 250 companies dedicated to telecommunications and the availability of highly qualified personnel,” the document reads.

PRI Senator Jorge Carlos Ramírez Marin said the EEZ here has not been canceled, but it is evident that it is not a priority issue for the new federal administration, “which means that they will not give the money that the state requires.”

“The only thing we need is a little investment, not even the promotion, which we are also doing … the only thing we need is for the federal government to contribute,” he said.

Source: Desde el Balcon

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