Supply Chain Now Radio
Episode 190

Episode Summary

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.

Episode Transcript

[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.

Would you rather watch the show in action?

Watch Greg as he interviews Javier Diaz de Leon for SCNR Episode 190 at the Georgia Manufacturing Summit in Atlanta.

Featured Guests

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:


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My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.

Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.

Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.

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Clay Phillips

Business Development Manager

Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.

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Amanda Luton

Vice President, Production

Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.

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Constantine Limberakis


Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research.Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

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Mary Kate Soliva

Host, Veteran Voices

Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.

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Kelly Barner

Host of Dial P for Procurement

Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.

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Enrique Alvarez

Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español

Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.

He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.

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Kevin L. Jackson

Host of Digital Transformers

Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog.  He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community.  Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include CiscoMicrosoft, Citrix and IBM.  Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.

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Tyler Ward

Director of Sales

Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!

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Chris Barnes

Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring

Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.

Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.

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Greg White

Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise

When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.

Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.

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Scott W. Luton

Founder, CEO, & Host

As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.

From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.

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