A Dangerous Culture? Mexico’s War on Drugs and its Impact on Business Development

Matthew MacLachlan

7 Jun 2010

In recent years, news about Mexico in the foreign media tends to revolve around one topic – the deadly warfare taking place in the country since President Felipe Calderón declared a ‘War on Drugs’ at the start of his presidency in 2006. His intention was to disband the Mexican drug cartels who took control of the profitable trafficking routes left by the Colombian cartels defeated in the 1990s. Yet, this approach backfired and violence has escalated to the extent that the city of Juarez in the border state of Chihuahua has a murder rate three times higher than any other city in Mexico, making it the most violent in the country.

While these could be frightening events for companies thinking about doing business in Mexico, these headlines show only one side of the picture. In fact, living and working in Mexico should not be any more daunting than, say, living and working in Argentina or living and working in Chile.

Even though drug cartels and gangs do pose a real danger, this danger tends to affect people already heavily involved in the drug trade rather than the population in general. Violent incidents generally occur around border or seaside towns within a few states in Mexico, meaning there is only a limited impact on the remaining twenty-plus states.

Mexico, a newly industrialised country, is the eleventh largest economy in the world and the second largest in Latin America, only behind Brazil. Mexico is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and of numerous Free Trade Agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Mexico also has one of the fastest-growing middle classes in the world, whose spending power provides numerous and profitable opportunities for foreign investment. Additionally, Mexico has a proven record of high-quality industrial manufacturing, the car industry being the perfect example as Volkswagen, Toyota, BMW and General Motors, among many others, have set up successful business ventures there.

Tourism also plays a vital role in the Mexican economy, as Mexico is among the tenth most visited countries in the world. Tourist destinations range from the impressive ruins of Mexico’s ancient civilisations to idyllic beach resorts to highly industrialised and modern cities. A world-renowned cuisine, rich cultural history and the friendliness of its people make doing business in Mexico a very interesting and attractive business experience. Foreign companies should therefore ignore the benefits of doing business in Mexico at their own peril.

Mexicans are very friendly and open to foreigners, however a good knowledge and appreciation of the local culture and traditions will go a long way when doing business in Mexico. Communicaid’s cross cultural awareness training courses are essential for companies thinking about setting up business in Mexico or already dealing with Mexican partners.

While doing business in Mexico may seem less foreign to Europeans than doing business in Angola, for instance, knowing the local business etiquette and communication practices will ensure a smooth transition for international assignees, short-term visitors or managers who work on long-term projects or communicate virtually with Mexico. Communicaid’s Doing Business in Mexico cross cultural awareness training course will help you to understand Mexican business and social culture and build strong business partnerships with your Mexican colleagues.

Learning a bit of Spanish will also go a long way in making the right impression and building a solid relationship. Communicaid’s Latin American Spanish language courses will help give your company an edge when doing business in Mexico. Even if you do not attain a level of fluency in Mexican Spanish, understanding how Latin American and Iberian Spanish are as different as American and British English and learning a few key greetings and expressions will help you secure a good deal when doing business in Mexico.

 



[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]
[if lte IE 8]