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Editor's note: This summer BABC hosted a luncheon around the new opportunities opening up for UK and US companies in Mexico. This was the beginning of BABC forming a focus group  on Mexico. British Consul General Andrew Millar, as a member of the BABC board, is spearheading this group.

BY HMCG Andrew Millar

I hosted a working breakfast on Mexico with visiting British Embassy staffer John Toomey.  Reforms have been passed and work is underway to implement them.  Key within this is the creation of space for national oil company PEMEX. Given its size and political power it was an inspired move by President Nieto to accommodate it through a Round Zero, where Pemex was allowed to bid for its share of resources ahead of the competition. Anecdotally, PEMEX got around 80% of what it had asked for and will work with 5 international oil companies in joint ventures on some of the plays.Having been given all it can eat for what some analysts estimate as 40 years of production, it leaves the rest of the Mexican reserves open for competitive bidding. John thinks we should see Round 1 complete by September 2015 starting a move into Mexico from the international sector.

The British Embassy in Mexico has been actively and closely engaged with Mexican policy makers as the new reforms were shaped.  John told us that the British flag matters – we are trusted and respected.  He also told us that active face-to-face engagement is critical in Mexico.  Filling out forms is one thing but if you don’t have personal connections, getting noticed is much more difficult.  Members around the table raised points about barriers to trade – customs being a key one – and safety and security.  John was keen to hear more of our detailed questions and would use these to talk to the Mexican government about key British concerns.  Grateful if you could send any questions you have to BCG.Houston@fco.gov.uk and we will forward these on to the team in Mexico City.

The British Chamber of Mexico is also keenly involved in the reforms and in supporting British business in pursuing opportunities there.  We agreed that Derek Blackwood should build a relationship with the President of the Mexico Chamber and we should be looking at seeing if there is appetite in the BABC for a visit to Mexico City.  I will look at setting up another focus group meeting around the turn of the year for a further update and to test appetite for a vist.

Newly appointed energy sector lead in UKTI, Regina Johnson, is keen to hear from companies who might be interested in looking at the Mexican market.  Regina can be contacted at  Regina.Johnson@mobile.ukti.gov.uk