Live from the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance, Greg interviews the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta.
“We really were trailblazers when we did NAFTA, but it’s over 25 years old. There was no such thing as digital trade back then… so we needed a new 21st century agreement. We need to upgrade our agreement.”
-Javier Díaz de León, the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta
Trade arrangements don’t just need to be worked out between countries, they need to be managed between individual states and foreign governments as well.
Host Greg White had the opportunity to speak with Javier Díaz de León, the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta, at the Georgia Manufacturing Summit. He has a degree in International Relations and a Masters in International Conflict Analysis. He has been the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta since May of 2016.
There is only one country in the world that buys more products from Georgia than Mexico ($18B last year), and that’s Canada. This makes the USMCA a critical concern to the state of Georgia and its manufacturers and producers, including peanuts, peaches, and electronics. The uncertainty surrounding trade with countries in Asia has increased the emphasis that North American countries place on trade with each other.
Javier shares his point of view on the trade relationship between Georgia and Mexico, including:
-Plants in Georgia do not complete with those in Mexico, instead they are complimentary.
-The supply chain between Georgia and Mexico flows in both directions.
-The North American manufacturing region is the most efficient and competitive in the world.
[00:02:36] It’s a good. OK. Hey, this is Greg White with Supply Chain Now Radio, we’re here at the Georgia Manufacturing Summit and I’m here with Consul General of Mexico to Atlanta.
[00:02:58] Harvey aired The Australian. I said the whole thing. Well, it’s about that. Thank you. Well, welcome and thank you for coming. Little interested in maybe some pre thoughts on on the session here and anything jump out at you from the discussions you’ve had so far today? I know you’ve got a session, a panel session later today.
[00:03:20] We’re going to be part of a panel to talk about a little bit of the importance of the global markets and the supply chain international global supply chains for manufacturing. And it’s that’s right up our alley because I mean, Mexico is one of the strongest partners. So the United States and Mexico also, of course, is one of the strongest partners of Georgia. We are the number two buyer of Georgia products in the world. There’s only one country in the world that buys more Georgia products than Mexico. And guess what? This is Canada. So so the I mean, Georgia is very much a complete and, you know, embedded part of the North American manufacturing region that we have built for over 20 years. Right. We need to have greater awareness of that Greene, whereas awareness of that in here in Georgia, but also, you know, Mexico and Canada, because we are really important to each other.
[00:04:05] That’s great. So so your job is to work with us, of course, this particular state. Right. And and your consulate is here in Atlanta. So give us a brief history of how you got here. Can you tell us a little bit about your professional journey?
[00:04:22] Oh, thank you. I mean, I’m a career diplomat, so I mean, I’ve been a diplomat, Mexican diplomat for about 26 years. OK. My career has been probably not typical in the sense that I’ve had several posters in the United States. I only have way back at the beginning of my career a posting in Australia. OK. So my first posting was at a Mexican embassy in Australia, in Canberra. But after that, all my career has been taking place in the United States. That must be nice. It’s closer to has been great for my family. Yes, of course. But of course, I mean, this very great differences from one place to another. So we started out in San Diego many years ago. Then we moved to New York, then Washington, D.C. Then we were for a while in Raleigh, North Carolina. Now we’re hearing Atlanta. So we had a chance to live in very different cultures within the United States.
[00:05:13] Yeah. And it and a direct flight home probably doesn’t hurt.
[00:05:16] That is very convenient about Atlanta. We can be in Mexico City in about taking all for a little bit over four hours here. Right there. Direct flight, very comfortable. And we get a lot of family coming here to visit.
[00:05:29] Great, great. Especially this time of year, I hope. Let them see the seasons change here in Atlanta.
[00:05:35] Oh, this is my favorite time of the year. It is beautiful as I am. I’ve always loved Fall and Autumn and particularly here in Atlanta and of course, in particularly northern Georgia. So gorgeous.
[00:05:47] And it’s turning right now as we speak. Folks, I love it. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about. So you said that Mexico is the second largest trade partner of of Georgia. Tell us a little bit about what some of those products are.
[00:06:03] Well, that’s very that’s also does it. Thank you for doing making that question. But that’s very important when we talk about that. You know, the billions of dollars that we trade with each other between Georgia and Mexico, which is over 18 billion dollars. Wow. Every year that. And every year we reach a new summit in terms of the highest ever Daryl bilateral trade between Georgia and Mexico. And lot know people think that this is about finished goods, but that this is, you know, Georgia exporting, I don’t know, peanuts and peaches. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. I don’t know. Yeah. And and Mexico exporting tequila and avocados. OK.
[00:06:37] And of course, we do a lot of thinking, OK. I hope so. Yeah, of course. Yeah. We buy a lot of peaches on a lot of peanuts.
[00:06:45] But that’s not really what it’s about. OK. But we are really about this exporting and buying from each other. Manufacturing parts, electronics, cables, computer parts. OK. And of course, supply chains. I got I see the name of your radio station. That’s right. So it is UPS Supply chain that he’s built up built up in North America. Big company. Some plants that operate in Mexico and plants that operate here in Georgia. Plants in Georgia do not compete with plants in Mexico. They are complementary to each other.
[00:07:14] Yeah, well, we had a little bit of an example of that with Keith today, right. They have a plant here in West Point and also a plant in Mexico as well.
[00:07:21] Exactly. That is a perfect example of that, because the plant, the Keith planting in in West Point, Georgia, gets a lot of supplies and money. Chinnery on parts from the monk from the Keith plant in Monterrey, Mexico. OK. They are not like we’re competing with Georgia to try to. No. Right. These cars that are built and manufacturing the key up down here in Georgia. Ah Samake also cars built in Mexico because they they are, you know, part of the same supply chain.
[00:07:49] Right. And and I think they make it a different vehicle actually in the plant in Mexico or different set of vehicles that plants in Mexico. Right.
[00:07:56] That’s just part of the strategic, you know, abuse and plans of each manufacturer. I’m sorry. Like dad. I could give you like several all their stories of all their manufactories. Like, of course, you know, like, of course, a Ford company. That’s right. Sort of thinking in Mexico, under-votes wagon makes car and several other plants that have plants operating in the United States very successfully. Right. But they complement with plants operating in Mexico.
[00:08:22] That’s fantastic. I really think it’s I think it’s difficult for people to think of it in a broader spectrum than peanuts and tequila. And. But I think it’s important for people to know that there is a much, much deeper connection.
[00:08:35] I’m afraid I’m taking care of that relationship and taking care to make sure that those supply chains keep on, you know, being able to work and took out their easy access. I think what we do in our countries is crucial Kisha, because, for example, a few months ago I was at the Toyota Plantin in Huntsville, Alabama, on their Toyota plant. But it does is that it sense that the engines from the cars that they build there, they send them to pick one up for that to the Toyota plant in Tijuana, Mexico. Okay. And for them, the axis of those of those engines into the Mexico is critical. Yeah. And those sort of things are critical, again, for Georgia and the key plants, for example, to go and access, you know, parts and manufacturing elements that they need to come from the plant in Mexico, in Monterrey.
[00:09:25] Great. That’s great. So how do you think U.S., N.S.A. and its goals play into that? And then if you care to not to put you on the spot, but if you care to give us an idea of whatever your or Mexico’s general thoughts on USMC A.
[00:09:43] I mean, of course, Mexico is fully behind our daddio for updating our trade agreement with now after we see USMC us, an updating of NAFTA, putting it know on the 21st levels Liegghio, we need NAFTA at the early 90s. So it’s all over 25 years old, right. And we were we were the first free trade agreement between a developing country. How did you been upcountry ever? It’s hard to think about that now. But I mean, we really were trailblazers when we did NAFTA. Right. But it’s 25 over 25 years old. There was no such thing as, you know, digital trade back then. Right. And, you know, the energy sector and the medical medicos, all of that. Right. So we needed a new 21st century agreement. We thought we had that because we had done TPP. Right. But then the United States withdrew from TPP and then Canada and Mexico needed to sit down again with the United States and said, OK. So there’s no TPP. We need to upgrade our agreement. Yeah. So that’s what what, USMC? Yes.
[00:10:46] And that is what really keeps that free flow of goods going from border to border, not just Mexico and the U.S., but also Canada and the U.S. and Canada and Mexico. Yeah. And.
[00:10:57] I mean, we are absolutely convinced that North America as a manufacturing region, we are the most efficient and competitive region in the world. We don’t think of each other as that way. Right. That same thing happens in Mexico. And I can talk about. But Canadian France. But I think I’ve heard my Canadian colleague, a good friend, say the same thing. Yeah. Because we don’t think in terms of the labor Lussick North American region, but we are in terms of manufacturing. We are right. And if you consider what’s going on nowadays, you know, regarding trade with with it with Asia and other parts of the world, we’re not only the most competitive manufacturing region, we will be more important to each other in the future as we are now.
[00:11:39] Yeah, yeah. I completely agree. And I think it’s a really important it’s really important for us to come to some level of agreement. Not that I’m any kind of expert, but we need to have some level of surety between the company, the countries and, you know, Greg and I and I think the keyword is, you know, reliability.
[00:11:57] Yeah. To be to be aware, I have certainty of where we’re going. And I think, of course, for you know, for the investors and people who are thinking about putting money into projects for manufacturing, the keyword is certainty. Yes. And for us, certainty means having a treaty like this where, you know, the industry will know what are going to be there, that the rules in play for the first next few years so they can have certainty for their investments.
[00:12:24] Yeah. And it it accrues to the benefit of everyone in North America to do that, to be, you know, to be able to have that certainty is is critical for all of the countries. And I think I think we have to recognize that we’re all partners in this regardless of whatever the level is of N in port. And exports of any of the individual countries, we’re all important to one another.
[00:12:48] And we’ll be understanding sometime this a little bit of anxiety regarding deficits. I know we understand. But if you look at the numbers, the U.S. numbers regarding where the deficits are, the real problems are not in North America. Yeah, the problems are elsewhere. And the other thing is that you really need to look into what. What sort of products are you trading with? Like I was saying before. What we are trading with each other are, you know, parts for manufacturing. Which makes us stronger and more, more effective. That is not what’s going on in other parts of the world, which, you know, that deficits are created by other sorts of products that are not connected to supply chain. Some manufacturing. Right.
[00:13:25] Right. Well, thank you. I know you’ve got a panel session that you’re going to do. So what’s the topic of your panel session?
[00:13:32] Well, it’s probably talking a lot about it. What I just said to you. So it’s it’s OK. So we got you warmed up for that. It was an excellent warm up session for me.
[00:13:41] Ok. That’s great. Well, I appreciate it. I appreciate your time. Haveyour, D-S.D. Leone. Yeah, the Consul General of Mexico to Atlanta. I did it twice. That’s good. They did very well. Not bad. Thanks. You could do in Spanish now. OK. I’m kidding. Don’t put me on the spot. I want to do it on the outtake.
[00:13:59] Ok. Well, thank you again from the Georgia Manufacturing Summit. Greg White with Supply Chain Now Radio. And we’ll be broadcasting this and releasing this in the days to come. Thanks for sharing with us. Thank you very much. Thank you. Yeah. Crusaded.
Javier Díaz de León serves as the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta. He has a degree in International Relations, having graduated from the Universidad Iberoamericana. He has a Master in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent in England. Since 1991, Javier has served as a member of the Mexican Foreign Service and received promotion to the rank of Ambassador on April 28, 2017. He has held various positions throughout his professional career, including: Alternate Consul in San Diego; Alternate Consul in New York, Chief of the Section of Migration and Hispanic Affairs at the Mexican Embassy in the United States of America and Executive Director of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad of the Mexican Foreign Ministry. From June 2013 to May 2016 he served as Consul General of Mexico in Raleigh, North Carolina. In May 2016, he was named the Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta. Learn more: https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/atlanta/
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Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.