MEXICO: With the Mexican government planning US$49bn of rail investment by 2012 and all tariff barriers on industrial goods removed by the free trade agreement with the European Union and Mexico, UK suppliers have identified the country as a potential market opportunity.

UK Trade & Investment, the government’s international trade development agency, is organising a trade mission in July, which it believes ‘couldn’t be more timely’.

UKTI has published a report on the Mexican railway sector, prepared following a week-long ‘scoping visit’ that included high-level meetings with the Ministry of Communications & Transport, freight railways Ferromex and KCSM, suppliers and urban operators in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. The delegation included representatives from the UK’s Railway Industry Association.

As well as investment in the freight network to increase train speeds, relieve bottlenecks and improve connections to ports, the PNI national infrastructure plan foresees further development of commuter railways. Two more suburban routes are being tendered in Mexico City and local passenger operations are planned for cities including Aguascalientes, Guadalajara, Guanajuato and Manzanillo as well as in Yucatán.

As many of these schemes are expected to require a private finance contribution, UKTI sees particular opportunities in the fields of consultancy, project management, procurement and financial services.