The Office of Environmental Technologies Industries (ETI) serves as the main point of contact at the Department of Commerce for U.S. environmental technologies and services firms. This office is charged with increasing the international competitiveness of the U.S. environmental technology industry and its exports. ETI trade specialists and representatives of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service provide an array of information, counseling, trade promotion, and advocacy services to help U.S. companies that specialize in pollution control, prevention, monitoring, and remediation to successfully enter and compete in the rapidly expanding international environmental market. These include:
ETI Online, ETI’s home page www.environment.ita.doc.gov, provides the latest news, country environmental market plans, research reports, a trade events calendar, and links to key environmental resources.
Environmental Export News, ETI’s quarterly newsletter, informs U.S. companies about developments in international markets and programs that help exporters.
Regional and industry-specific market research reports, feature detailed analyses of key countries, regions and industry subsectors.
The ETI trade specialist for Mexico is Ellen Zeytoun. Ms. Zeytoun may be contacted at (202) 482-0359, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Department of Commerce in Mexico
The Department of Commerce has four offices in Mexico that can assist U.S. firms in promoting their exports to Mexico. The main office is part of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and the other offices are in the U.S. consulates in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Tijuana. The Mexico City office has designated an environmental attaché to offer U.S. firms interested in the Mexican market a number of services, including provision of business counseling, technical assistance, regulatory information, and introductions to Mexican government officials and Mexican businesses. All four offices can offer U.S. companies matchmaking services, background checks, and market research, among other services. The offices also maintain information on Mexican firms, including those interested in doing business with U.S. environmental firms.
In addition, the U.S. Trade Center in Mexico City is available to U.S. firms interested in promoting their products and services to Mexican representatives and buyers through sales seminars, videoconferences, receptions, and similar types of events. U.S. firms can promote their goods and services through local trade shows and exhibitions supported by the U.S. Commercial Service. In particular, the U.S. DOC recommends the EnviroPro Show, which usually takes place in September of each year in the World Trade Center in Mexico City.
The Mexico City office of the Commercial Service may be contacted at (phone) +52 (5) 140-2600 or (fax) +52 (5) 535-1139. The Web site is www.usatrade.gov.
U.S. Agency for International Development
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administers a number of programs that provide economic, technical, and humanitarian assistance to countries around the world. As part of its goal to protect the environment, USAID created the USAID/Mexico environment program. The program assists Mexico in defining and implementing approaches to promote the long-term economic growth necessary to address Mexico’s poverty problems, while conserving and restoring the environment. The program has two main strategic objectives: (1) conserving critical ecosystems, and (2) reducing CO2 and pollution through improved technologies.
USAID/Mexico supports those objectives through programs aimed at improving the use and management of natural and energy resources, building the capacity of partners in the public and private sectors to address those issues, and working to define and address policy limitations to improving resource use in Mexico. Specific projects within the USAID/Mexico program are as follows:
Management of Coastal Resources in the MesoAmerican Reef Area of Mexico. The MesoAmerican reef is the second largest reef system in the world, stretching along the coast of Quintana Roo in Mexico to Honduras. USAID works with other international and local organizations to provide technical assistance and training in coastal management in two key areas of the reef. USAID and the Embassy of Japan began collaborating on research and training, as well as on the development of a coastal management station that is centrally located in Quintana Roo. Japan is funding initial infrastructure construction; a consortium of local organizations is providing the management structure; and USAID/Mexico is supporting the administration of the center, is providing some key equipment, and will support specific research and training activities within the center.
Sea of Cortés Regional Planning Activities. The Sea of Cortés in the Gulf of California is Mexico’s most abundant fishery source and contains rich biodiversity. The National Institute of Ecology has initiated a regional management plan for the Gulf of California, and the Global Environmental Facility is currently reviewing a 10-year, $70-million proposal to advance marine conservation and sustainable development in the region. USAID, building on its success in Quintana Roo, is encouraging the University of Rhode Island (and its Coastal Resources Center) to partner with another long-term USAID partner, Conservation International Mexico (CIMEX), to assist in designing a management plan for the Santa María Bay on the state of Sinaloa’s gulf coast.
Management of the Selva Lacandon and Regional Planning. The Selva Lacandon is Mexico’s most important rain forest and is part of the Selva Maya. USAID, through CIMEX, proactively promotes sustainable income-producing activities that are adapted for the area, participates in environmental monitoring, and is working to establish participatory land-use plans and programs. It has promoted the use of agro-ecological methods such as maize-velvet bean cultivation, shade coffee production, and organic vanilla cultivation with communities around the reserve, and it has worked to establish two biological stations, Ixcán and Chajul, in the reserve.
Building Capacity for Regional Planning. USAID is encouraging local non-governmental organizations to support local environmental concerns addressed in Mexico’s decentralization programs.
Endowment Fund to Strengthen Mexican Conservation Efforts. USAID/Mexico established a new Mexican institution in 1994, providing $20 million to the Mexican Nature Conservation Fund (Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, or FMCN), with the Mexican government providing an additional $10 million. FMCN has matured and is leading a network of environmental funds throughout Latin America. FMCN has reached over $50 million in capitalization and has provided loans for $7 million to local non-governmental organizations, conservation groups, and other institutions throughout Mexico.
Forest and Fire Management Program in Mexico. In 1998, fire destroyed more than 200,000 hectares of forest in Mexico. USAID and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance developed an immediate disaster cooperation program for $7 million, which provided fire-fighting aircraft and helicopters, infrared overflights, and equipment and technical assistance in the use of ground and air attack firefighting techniques. In the wake of this disaster, USAID and Mexican institutions are working to design a timely response aimed at fire prevention and mitigation schemes, restoration of burnt areas, and environmental education programs. This program has a budget exceeding $8 million.
Mexico Renewable Energy Program. USAID/Mexico’s energy program supports Mexico’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through programs in energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and renewable energy. The objectives of the energy program are accomplished by using pilot projects to demonstrate the viability of technologies, supporting selected sector policy reforms, strengthening institutional capacity, and promoting financial sustainability. Under USAID/Mexico’s energy program, a comprehensive project with the Delegation of Tlalpan in Mexico City and the Autonomous University of Mexico is demonstrating how municipalities can apply sound energy and natural resource use by adopting energy efficiency and pollution prevention practices and technologies.
The Tlalpan project works with local hospitals, small and medium-sized industry, and residents to introduce water efficiency, solar energy, and improved energy efficiency. This program excellently demonstrates the cost effectiveness of programs to improve steam efficiency and of new technologies that lower both energy and water use. Replication of this municipal-level program will assist local governments in responding to decentralization. Information gained by the project will also be used to respond to demands for reducing the growth of CO2 emission to help mitigate climate change.
In addition to the Tlalpan project, USAID implemented a program to demonstrate the technical, economic, and financial viability of renewable energy systems. Through the program, more than 400 small solar energy systems have been installed throughout Mexico. More than 40 U.S. companies have been involved in this technology transfer and have helped increase economic, social, and health benefits in off-grid, rural communities.
For more information on the Mexico Renewable Energy Program, visit the Web site of the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory at www.re.sandia.gov.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency works actively in Mexico with the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources to reduce pollution, especially in the border area. In addition to providing technical assistance, EPA has provided over $230 million in funding for wastewater and municipal waste projects through the Project Development Assistance Program and the Border Environmental Infrastructure Fund.
Border XXI Environmental Program
The U.S.-Mexico border area has seen a rapid growth in population and industry, placing profound stresses on the region’s natural resources and environment. The 1983 Agreement on Environmental Cooperation in the U.S.-Mexico Border Area (the La Paz Agreement) established a broad framework for binational cooperation to address environmental protection in the border area, defined as 100 kilometers north and south of the border. The details of cooperation have been established through binational border environmental plans. The most recent plan, known as Border XXI, operated from 1996 to 2000. Under Border XXI, nine binational working groups addressed a range of environmental issues: water, air, hazardous waste, natural resources, emergency response, pollution prevention, enforcement and compliance, environmental health, and environmental information resources. The program strived to involve state and local governments, communities, non-governmental organizations, industry, and academia as partners in implementing cooperative efforts to promote sustainable development. Efforts were also launched to develop environmental indicators to measure the program’s success.
U.S. and Mexican environmental authorities recently initiated discussions to develop the next phase of implementation for border environmental cooperation. Although the precise structure of a new border plan is yet to be determined, clearly the new effort will need to (1) be results driven and (2) enhance the involvement of state and local governments, industry, non-governmental organizations, and communities on both sides of the border.
Many of the Border XXI work groups have engaged industry in individual projects to encourage improved environmental management (and thereby create markets for environmental goods and services). The following two efforts that emerged from Border XXI and that are likely to carry over into the next phase of border environmental cooperation are worthy of particular note:
Seven Principles of Environmental Stewardship for the U.S.-Mexico Business and Trade Community. Signed in June 1999 by the U.S. EPA, SEMARNAP, BECC, and the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, the Seven Principles are a binational public-private commitment to promote sound environmental stewardship practices by companies operating in both countries. The principles support U.S. business by helping make U.S. companies that implement the principles more competitive, while at the same time promoting markets in Mexico for U.S. suppliers of environmental goods and services. A number of major Mexican trade associations and non-governmental organizations, as well as, most recently, DuPont of Mexico, have endorsed the Seven Principles. A copy of the principles is included in Appendix E.
U.S. EPA-SEMARNAP Joint Policy Statement onthe Remediation and Redevelopment of Contaminated Properties in the U.S.-Mexico Border Area. Signed in May 2000, this binational statement declares the intention of the environmental authorities of the two countries to work together to address the problem of contaminated sites in the border area, including exploring the concept of brownfield redevelopment in Mexico. The U.S. EPA and SEMARNAT are planning a binational seminar in a selected border sister-city pair in 2001 to exchange expert information on approaches to remediation and brownfield redevelopment. As such, the U.S. EPA is stimulating in Mexico the development of a market for American site remediation, land-use development, and financial and legal services associated with the restoration and redevelopment of contaminated property.
Global Climate Change
The United States and Mexico cooperate on a number of environmental issues beyond the border area. For example, the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Agency for International Development work with SEMARNAT on a number of cooperative projects to address global climate change. U.S. EPA projects include assisting Mexico in updating its national inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, analyzing the dynamics of carbon capture in humid tropical forests, exploring models for evaluating the economic impacts of global climate change and mitigation strategies, evaluating integrated strategies for maximizing the reduction of greenhouse gas and local contaminant emissions, and improving understanding of vulnerabilities to global climate change. Market opportunities will be presented for U.S. companies as Mexico gears up to undertake meaningful commitments to address global climate change.
Mexico City Air Quality
Under a 1989 agreement, the U.S. EPA provides technical assistance to state, local, and federal authorities in Mexico City in their effort to address air pollution in the metropolitan area. U.S. EPA experts have periodically audited and provided training to personnel in calibrating Mexico City’s air-quality monitoring system. Local, state, and federal authorities are developing a new, 10-year integrated program to improve Mexico City’s air quality, with cooperation from the U.S. EPA and other international experts and with financial assistance from the World Bank. Strategies in the new plan are likely to include using alternative fuel vehicles, improving fuel quality and vehicle emissions standards, enhancing the city’s public transportation system, improving land-use policies and transportation networks, and ratcheting down industry emissions. Many of these strategies will present market opportunities for U.S. companies. (See also the discussion of the Mexico City PROAIRE in Chapter 8.)
Gulf of Mexico
A new area for binational cooperation is the Gulf of Mexico, which is a priority for SEMARNAT, the U.S. EPA’s Gulf of Mexico program, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency, and other U.S. federal agencies, as well as for U.S. and Mexican states along the coast of the gulf. Cooperative efforts are likely to include ecological monitoring and assessment, as well as efforts to address industry and other land-based contributions to pollution in the gulf.
North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation
In addition to their environmental cooperation with each other, the United States and Mexico participate, along with Canada, in the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (NACEC). NACEC facilitates a trinational work program of cooperation on a range of environmental issues. Key projects of potential interest to U.S. suppliers of environmental goods and services include a program to develop sound management plans in all three countries for targeted chemicals; an effort to assist in developing national pollutant release and reporting registries; the development of a trinational guidance document describing 10 elements of a performance-focused environmental management system; and a program on trade and the environment, which includes a project to stimulate trade in environmentally beneficial goods.
U.S. EPA Attaché Office Support of Foreign and Commercial Service Trade Facilitation Mission
Because of the importance of environmental cooperation with Mexico, the U.S. EPA maintains its only Environmental Attaché Office in a bilateral diplomatic mission in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. The office supports the Foreign Commercial Service’s business facilitation efforts by providing consultation and advice to U.S. companies seeking to enter Mexico’s environmental goods and services market. The office provides information about Mexico’s general environmental requirements and policy to U.S. companies of all types that are exploring investment in Mexico. The office has consistently supported environmental trade missions in Mexico and annually speaks on environmental topics of interest to U.S. business at CONIECO’s EnviroPro environmental trade show and seminar.
To assist exporters, the U.S. EPA sponsors the activities of the U.S. Environmental Technical Institute and the Vendor Information System for Innovative Treatment Technologies (VISITT) in Mexico.
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (U.S. TDA) assists in creating jobs for Americans by helping U.S. companies pursue overseas business opportunities. By funding feasibility studies, orientation visits, specialized training grants, business workshops, and various forms of technical assistance, the U.S. TDA enables American businesses to compete for infrastructure and industrial projects in middle-income and developing countries. Currently, the U.S. TDA is funding feasibility studies for two environmental projects in Mexico:
Integrated Municipal and Industrial Wastewater Collection and Treatment Project in Poza Rica, Veracruz. The U.S. TDA has provided a grant of $265,000 to the Comisión Estatal de Agua y Saneamiento (CEAS, Veracruz State Water and Sanitation Commission) for a feasibility study on the Integrated Municipal and Industrial Wastewater Collection and Treatment Project in Poza Rica, Veracruz. The project, which is estimated to cost about $92 million, will involve constructing a new wastewater collection system (including installing service lines, gravity mains, pump stations, force mains, and trunk lines) and constructing an integrated municipal and industrial wastewater treatment system.
SIMEPRODESO Solid Waste Management Project in Monterrey, Nuevo León. The U.S. TDA provided partial funding ($188,700) for a feasibility study for the Sistema Metropolitano de Procesamiento de Desechos Sólidos on its solid waste management project in Monterrey. SIMEPRODESO selected Brown, Vence and Associates Inc. of Roseville, California, to perform the study. That company will provide the remaining $188,700 required to complete the terms of reference for the study. SIMEPRODESO is contributing in-kind services to the study. The study will involve preparing the tender documents for a landfill gas-to-energy project that has received the support of the Global Environmental Facility/World Bank. The study will assist SIMEPRODESO in improving its solid waste management operations in Monterrey by offering guidance in planning landfill improvements, installing environmental controls, and building a tire recovery facility.
The U.S. TDA facilitates exports by targeting specific project opportunities. The agency publishes many useful documents, such as definitional mission and specialized reports, including a 1998 document profiling several infrastructure opportunities in Mexico. To review or obtain copies of the reports, U.S. companies should contact the U.S. TDA or purchase them through www.fedworld.gov/ntis. U.S. companies willing to perform feasibility studies or conduct definitional missions should visit the TDA Web page www.tda.gov. The “Pipeline” section details upcoming opportunities to work with U.S. TDA.
To receive U.S. TDA funds, a project must meet the following criteria:
The project must be a development priority.
U.S. firms or a U.S. consortium must perform the feasibility studies.
The project must represent an opportunity for substantial sales of U.S. goods and services, and it must represent a significant multiplier on the cost of the requested assistance.
Subsequent procurement for the project must be open to U.S. firms, including the feasibility study contractor.
U.S. TDA projects in Mexico are identified by agencies of the Mexican federal, state, and local governments; by U.S. TDA staff; by U.S. embassy commercial staff; and by private-sector firms. The sponsoring recipient Mexican agency plays an active role in developing the scope of work for the study, in selecting on a competitive basis the U.S. firm to complete it, and in monitoring progress of the study. The bids are advertised in Commerce Business Daily.
U.S. Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy offers programs that affect the development and export of environmental technologies through technology development and commercialization initiatives, conference co-sponsorship, and overseas demonstrations of technologies in Mexico. The environmental technologies that the Office of Environmental Management is actively seeking to promote in Mexico include site remediation, site characterization, environmental restoration, and waste management. The office is considering expansion of a joint science and technology cooperation program with Mexico to advance environmental technology systems that can improve environmental management efforts in the United States and Mexico. The office will assist U.S. companies in identifying sites in Mexico where their technologies can be applied.
Other U.S. Government Agencies
A number of U.S. government agencies and organizations have active programs with Mexico, focusing mostly on collaborative scientific research and information exchanges. Most of those programs do not have any direct commercial focus, so further details are not provided here. The agencies may be contacted as follows:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Tel: (202) 208-5640. Fax: (202) 208-3394.
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of International Affairs.
Tel: (703) 358-1804. Fax: (703) 358-2202.
National Science Foundation, International Research Department. Tel: (703) 306-1710. Fax: (703) 306-0476.
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Tel: (301) 261-4190.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service. Tel: (202) 690-2867. Fax: (202 690-0892.
Department of Health and Human Services. Tel: (202) 619-0257.