"From the perspective of the chemical industry, the macroeconomic position of the country is very strong. We continue to grow the levels of investment."
Can you update us on your recent operations?
ANIQ represents 95% of the chemical and distribution companies established in Mexico. This year, some of our core activities are related to energy efficiency, trying to help companies work towards the energy transition. We are working with the Ministry of the Environment on defining the objectives and goals of the chemical industry related to emissions reductions.
Another core focus of this year is raw materials supply. At the moment, 60% of chemical imports are coming from the US, and 67% to 70% of energy, with intensive natural gas imports. We are working with Pemex and the federal government to improve the production of natural gas and, consequently, ethane and other derivatives, to increase competitivity and reduce imports from the US.
Additionally, we have federal elections next year in Mexico. ANIQ is working with the authorities in the present government, as well as with teams that will be candidates in the election, showing them the benefits of a strong chemical industry for the country.
What is the situation regarding energy in Mexico?
A core challenge is energy prices. When looking at natural gas, we are competitive, with much the same price that Houston has, plus distribution costs. When looking at electricity, however, we have a huge differential. Electricity costs are between 25% to 30% higher compared to the Houston area.
Additionally, we would like to have more energy generated from renewable sources.
How can infrastructure be improved?
Infrastructure has long been a challenge for us, but we believe that we have major opportunities. The Long Beach Port in California is completely saturated, with no possibility of increasing cargo capacity. We have two ports on the Pacific, Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas, and the distance between Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas and Houston is shorter than the distance from Long Beach to Houston. We could be an excellent hub, not just for the chemical industry, but for many other industries.
What is your perspective on the larger economic situation?
From the perspective of the chemical industry, the macroeconomic position of the country is very strong. We continue to grow the levels of investment. This year, for example, between January and September foreign investment was up 30%, with last year reaching US$45 billion.
How can the chemical industry support underdeveloped regions in the country?
When you analyze the country, you will find two Mexicos. From Mexico City to the north, there is significant infrastructure, a long history of industrialization, and factories and support to implement investments. The south, on the other hand, has not received as much investment. Partially, this is because it is lacking in infrastructure. Additionally, talent is not well developed.
The chemical industry is one of the only industries settled in the south. When you analyze the south, the industries are agriculture and chemicals. Coatzacoalcos is the largest hubs for the chemical industry in Mexico, and it is where Pemex infrastructure is based. The industry could provide more benefits to the south. ANIQ is making a strong effort to communicate to the government that if they would like to develop this region, an industry to start with is ours. We have been there for a long time, we have trained people, and we have worked with universities to prepare students to work in our plants. We believe that we could provide this development.
We have not invested in the last several years in Coatzacoalcos because our capacity is underutilized. We utilize only 69% of the capacity in Coatzacoalcos, so it is challenging to make an investment. We are working with the government to help the development of the south, focused on three needs: Raw materials supply, development of talent, and infrastructure.
What are ANIQ’s upcoming activities?
ANIQ continues to be very focused on training, with our own training institute. We will be training close to 6,000 people in the different areas I have mentioned, and we are developing 12 different diplomas. Our Sistema de Becarios, which is the training that we provide to students, is increasing, with more than 2,000 students allocated across different companies.
ANIQ has six conferences annually. In May, we will host our general convention. We will also host our conferences on foreign trade, logistics, environmental security, labor, and our Annual Foro.