According to President-Elect, Lopez Obrador, the free zone initiative is set to launch in January 2019; that is in two and a half months. The Mexican government will first focus on transforming its cities and towns into free zones along its border with the U.S.A. after which attention will be focused on Chetumal. Minister of State responsible for Investment, Trade, and Commerce Tracy Taeger-Panton says that the Government has been in discussion with the Inter-American Bank to create a strategy to transform the Corozal Free Zone into a viable zone.

Tracy Taeger-Panton, Minister of State Responsible for Investment, Trade and Commerce

“For the last year and a half, we have been working on a consultancy along with the Inter-American Bank at looking at how we can expand what we are doing at the free zones. So it’s not just a port for the trade of goods but that we can offer other services at the zone so it can be viable in the medium to long-term. So this is an ongoing discussion long before this announcement came from the Mexican president. We have plans in place to expand the role and functionality of not only the Corozal Free Zone but other free zones of the country so they can become viable.”

Hipolito Novelo

“What’s the biggest challenge in the free zone because when I went there a year ago, it seemed like a dessert. I mean, a lot of people who own shops were complaining that they don’t really get customers. Yes, you have the fayuqueros who contraband goods across the bridge but the economy is not being boosted up there.”

Tracy Taeger-Panton

“Those who have invested in the free zone have to be prepared to continue to invest; you can’t just invest to extrapolate what you have invested. Whether the free zone succeeds or doesn’t succeed will really be dependent on the kind of investment that we are able to attract in the area and how do we encourage current investors to expand in what they are doing.”

Channel 5