EL CENTRO – Javier Rivas, a representative from a manufacturing development company called PIMSA, conducted a pitch to the Board of Supervisors May 23 detailing an idea for a twin plant maquiladora partnership with Imperial County to improve the region’s global relations and partake in the economic benefits of a worldwide industrial agenda.
PIMSA is a privately-owned company and an active member of the U.S.A. National and Mexican Industrial Park Association that has over 37 companies, 5.2 million square feet in buildings, and more than 20,000 employees.
“Imperial County is binational, bicultural, and bilingual, and we want to see if we can do in Imperial County what we did in Yuma, Arizona,” announced Rivas. “The main idea is to use our tenants which may need logistics or processing on this side of the border. We want to implement a Twin Plant concept where we produce something there (Mexico) and then complement that by producing something else here (Imperial County) to develop logistics.”
Imperial County, with a population of 180,000, is an important U.S. farming region that is becoming a production sharing area to complement Mexicali’s manufacturers, according to potential investors.
“We always sell Mexicali together with Imperial Valley and we find that lots of times, Imperial Valley gets bypassed and we want to change that,” added Rivas.
Morocco, the hub for the maquiladora industry in Europe, has already overlooked Imperial County and purchased facilities in San Luis, Sonora, and Yuma, Arizona. “If we team up, we can get those companies to stay in our area,” said Rivas.
A previous effort by PIMSA to launch an industrial park area project in Calexico from the Mexico side was short-lived due to a more immediate local interest at the time in favor of retail and agriculture businesses as opposed to manufacturing.
“I believe we have to change that,” Rivas told the board. “We have to diversify the local economy from a farming community, which is very important, from a retail community, which is very important, to an industrial region. And we can do that with basic companies that we already have in place in Mexicali.”
PIMSA has been in business for 50 years and has launched operations with several Fortune 500 companies such as LG, Frito Lay, and Z Global.
According to a PIMSA power point presentation, the Bajio and Mexico City region that includes the nine states surrounding Jalisco, has approximately 50,169,210 inhabitants with a GDP of $333,949 million USD. The Northwest Region that includes Baja California North/ South, Sonora Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California, is inhabited by 55,896,265 citizens with a GDP of $2.95 trillion USD.
“We have a place on the Mexican side where we have proven our labor, proven our quality, and proven our efficiency and we’re talking about a low-cost labor center,” said Rivas. “But also, now with CETYS University, UABC, and Technological Institute of Mexicali – we are developing skills and trades to complement one another so we can sell the (Northwest Region) much better than the (Bajio and Mexico City Region).”
Rivas said NAFTA changes will not impact the proposed project since legislation for the Maquiladora Industry by itself was set into motion before the Free Trade Agreement.
“Even with all the import and export laws of materials and products, we just got a contract with NASCO for 30 more years to build vessels. And even with the ‘Border Tax,’ the financial projections came out very profitable,” concluded Rivas. “We want to do business and consider the Imperial Valley side as part of our strategy. We don’t want to continue to move forward without the ingredient of the newest side.”
“Personally, I think we need to pursue this relationship,” commented Supervisor Raymond Castillo. “I’ve always liked the twin plant concept where you have a maquiladora in Mexicali and a twin on this side of the border as well. I think it’s time, in fact, it’s way overdue. So, I’m excited to hear this presentation because we do need to move forward on this.”