Investment of $5.3bn announced for 3 Special Enterprise Zones

By Elliot Bullman

President signs decrees for three of new special economic zones

Three special economic zones in southeastern Mexico are forecast to benefit from US $5.3 billion in private-sector investment and the creation of 12,000 new jobs over the next three years.

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President Enrique Peña Nieto signed decrees last Friday for the creation of the zones in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz; Lázaro Cárdenas Michoacán; and Puerto Chiapas, Chiapas. He described it as a “great milestone” for the southern region of the country.

Peña Nieto said the zones, modelled on similar initiatives in other parts of the world, were designed to encourage the development of the poorest areas of the country and allow them to catch up to other regions.

While central, western and northern Mexico are job-creating areas, the south has steadily fallen behind for decades.

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Peña Nieto said, the task at hand is not an “easy or fast” one, and its results will not be seen during his administration. “We’re sowing seeds in fertile ground . . . where an economic model is most needed.”

The plan is to scrap welfare policies that only mitigate poverty and instead shift the focus to productive investment, capital formation and education.

The special economic zones will offer incentives to attract investment and educational institutions.

Gerardo Gutiérrez Candiani , the man in charge of the agency responsible for getting the zones going said interest is high. He confirmed that about 200 companies are considering investing and 35 have expressed an “advanced” interest.

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