One of the overall missions of Mexico Business Associates is to offer services for foreign firms doing business in Mexico so that those firms never have to send employees here should they not want to. This is in no way a requirement for retaining us, as many clients prefer to come to Mexico and participate in trade shows, sourcing and purchasing, or Mexican sales and distribution while utilizing us as merely consultants, interpreters, and Mexican trade show support amongst other services that we offer. Simply put, we are flexible and cater to our clients needs with sourcing, market entry and trade show projects based on how much the client actually wants to be involved in the process. If the client wishes to be in Mexico meeting with Mexican distributors and at trade shows with us present we can make it happen. On the other hand if the client company has no desire to step foot on Mexican soil we can arrange things to be their complete representative in Mexico while keeping them up to speed on project developments through email, telephone, texts and Skype (today’s improved technology and Mexico’s improved telecommunication and services makes communication with foreign clients much easier than even 5 years ago.) Today nearly all Mexican cell phone plans have free unlimited calls and texting between the United States and Canada. In the last few years we have had the luxury of literally discussing a deal with a Mexican supplier or distributor while texting back details to the client in the United States. Even technologies like Skype, WhatsApp and other messenger services allow us to stay in constant contact with clients in Europe, Oceana and Asia without costing anyone a cent (or peso) more for phone service. We will have a later blog post on telecommunications in Mexico. This one for now is about foreign businesses people who indeed DO wish to travel to Mexico.
Is it Safe?
Almost always after explaining to a fellow Westerner that I live and work in Mexico City, I tend to get questions about the lifestyle and generally, how things are in Mexico. One of the more common questions that I get is simply put: “Is it safe down there?” This to be honest is a fair question based upon all of the negative press that Mexico has received in recent years as a result of the drug war. Although I personally believe the US media has overblown much of the coverage, questions on safety for a foreigner in Mexico are valid. My initial response, specifically to Americans who ask the safety question in regards to Mexico and specifically in reference to Mexico City is to the point and ends with a rhetorical question: “Well there certainly are areas that you need to stay out of. But aren’t there parts of New York, Chicago, LA, Detroit, Miami, Washington or almost any other American city that you should avoid?” The point is this; nearly every major city in the world has areas that you should avoid and you should take precautions in a place like New York, Barcelona, Rome, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey etc that you might not take in a small farm town in the American Midwest or in a fishing village in New England.
Millions of foreigners visit Mexico every year for business, education and pleasure and avoid being victims of crime because they take common sense precautions. Of course there is no guarantee of not being of petty or violent crime when traveling to ANY country, but your chances of undergoing a bad experience while doing business in Mexico is slim as long as you simply take certain measures.
Do your Research
Should you elect to travel to Mexico on business, our first recommendation is that you research the region of Mexico to which you intend to travel. An excellent quick reference will be the US State Department’s Mexico travel warnings. As you can see from the State Department, there are parts of Mexico that should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. It is also worth noting the Mexico City (once known to be very unsafe) has no travel advisory as the city government has successfully worked to significantly reduce crime in many parts of the city over the last decade (once again there are parts of Mexico City to be avoided). You can also see that the State department classifies Mexico’s other main business centers, such as Monterrey, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Puebla and Queretaro as generally safe (although there are advisories for rural areas of those states).
Does this mean a foreign business traveler in one of these cities with little familiarity of the city, language, customs and culture should go out alone after work, polish off 10 drinks, try and grab a taxi off the street or stumble his way 10 blocks back to his hotel? Or should a foreigner with no experience in a given city in Mexico just start wandering through tiny, uninhabited back streets one evening? Should the same person take a random stranger up on an offer to tour him around town one night? UUM NOO!!! SITUATIONS LIKE THESE ARE WHEN BAD THINGS DO HAPPEN TO FOREIGN TRAVELERS TO MEXICO AND ELSEWHERE! Once again, no one is completely immune to the threat of crime in any region of any country as, there is always at least some chance of bad things happening. But if you take precautions in Mexico, you can greatly minimize your chances of being a victim of crime. The following are precautions that we recommend that clients and ANYONE traveling to Mexico for business or pleasure take to avoid being a victim of crime. These strategies have allowed me to personally travel to dozens of cities in Mexico as well as places “ranked” as some of the most dangerous cities on earth such as Tegucigalpa Honduras, San Salvador, El Salvador, Guatemala City and Kingston, Jamaica over the past few years without incident.
Reach Out To And Plan Travel With Your Mexican Host
No matter what your business venture in Mexico, be it manufacturing, Mexican distribution, trade show attendance, or sourcing of agricultural products, chances are you will have a Mexican client or supplier with whom you plan to work. For those without a specific client or provider contact in Mexico, companies like ours can assist you with all of your travel arrangements. When meeting a client in Mexico as part of a sourcing project, to meet with a Mexican distributor or retailer, or to attend a Mexican trade show, we offer to meet our clients at the airport and accompany them to their hotel. We do this for safety, but also as a courtesy in effort to make our clients feel more comfortable in a foreign country. Even if you’re not doing business with Mexico Business Associates, you may be pleasantly surprised how much hospitality you will get by simply inquiring to your Mexican client or provider about your travel details. In recent years, nearly all of my clients in Central America and the Caribbean have picked me up personally from the airport or sent an authorized taxi for me. Mexican business people are known to behave similarly for clients and suppliers.
Aside from a simple ride home from the airport, voice your concerns to a Mexican host about security, food safety, etc. Most hosts will be more than willing to pick you up daily at your hotel prior to the workday. They will also tend to ensure that you eat well, safely (usually with them) and take you back to your hotel in the evening. In many trips to Central America and the Caribbean, I was never without my client except for in the hotel or airport. Again, Mexicans and Latin Americans in general are aware of foreigners’ safety concerns while traveling to their countries. Most of these hosts strive to ensure that their guests’ experiences are as comfortable and pleasant as possible as they know that the success of a new business relationship can be contingent upon the foreigner’s in-country experience.
Traveling to do business in Mexico can be a wonderful and exciting experience. Enjoy the culture, and pay attention to instructions from your Mexican host, and you will be just fine. Stay tuned for more information on traveling in Mexico!