FDI from China to Mexico exceeds the official record by at least 10 times

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Official data from recent years report low investment from China in Mexico. Last year, foreign direct investment (FDI) from the Asian giant in our country was practically non-existent. Specialists agree that this is a consequence of a problem with the registration criteria. However, a new indicator from the Mexican government, which determines investment intentions, shows that Beijing is one of the largest investors in Mexico.

Data from the Ministry of Economy (SE) reveal that in 2023, FDI from China in Mexico was 151.4 million dollars, a figure that is equivalent to only 0.4 percent of the 36 thousand 58 million dollars that were received last year, a figure unprecedented since records exist, driven, according to the agency, by the confidence of foreign investors in the country.

This confidence, according to official data, was not exposed by Chinese investors, as the 2023 figure shows a 75 percent drop from the Chinese FDI of $600 million reported in 2022.

The data presented each quarter by the SE and which are continually updated, show that from 2006 to date, FDI from China in Mexico amounts to 2,452 million dollars, a figure that is very far from the 232,280 million dollars. recorded by the United States in the same period, positioning itself as the largest investor.

China’s accumulated investment in Mexico represents just 0.42 percent of the 556.5 billion dollars that the country has received in the last 17 years.

The foregoing results in it not appearing in the top 10  of largest investments in Mexico, led by the US and followed by Spain, 57.2 billion dollars; Canada, 50 billion; Japan, 29.28 billion; Germany, 24.9 billion; Belgium, 23 thousand 76 million; the Netherlands, 13.7 billion; France, 12.5 billion; Argentina, 11.1 billion, and South Korea, 9.5 billion dollars.

China is in 17th position behind nations such as Brazil, Australia, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

At first glance, the numbers show China’s low interest in investing in Mexico; However, points out Enrique Dussel Peters, coordinator of the Mexico-China Studies Center (Cechimex), the reality is not that, since the organization he directs has found important under-records that indicate that FDI from the Asian giant is at least 10 times higher than what was officially reported. 

The head of the organization, which belongs to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), assures that according to the monitoring they have done over the years, China’s accumulated FDI in Mexico is at least 21 billion of dollars.

The above, Dussel Peters clarified, does not mean that the government or the SE hide information or tell lies, but rather it is due to a methodological problem in which the agency is obliged to register as a destination the country from which the resources arrive directly, and not from where they came from. In many cases, she says, Chinese companies have headquarters outside their home territory, so, for example, an investment by a Chinese company from New York is attributed as FDI from the United States.

The specialist’s statements coincide with a report that the SE began issuing at the end of last year called  Investment Announcements, in which it reported that in 2023 foreign companies made 378 investment announcements in Mexico, with an expectation of foreign direct investment of 110 1,744 million dollars for the next two years.

Of that amount, China was in second position with 13.19 billion dollars, only below the United States, which recorded 42 billion dollars.

A few days ago the SE republished the report, reporting on investment intentions for the first two months of 2024, resulting in 52 announcements for 25,844 million dollars for the next two or three years. Of that amount, China was in fourth position with $1.5 billion.

That is, in just one year and two months, Chinese companies have planned an investment of almost 15 billion dollars for the next two or three years, that is, six times higher than what they have officially accumulated since 2006 to date. .