Massive Chinese trade center in Mexico riles environmentalists, competitors
MEXICO CITY — It's a big dream: A complex near the resort of Cancun that would be the largest trading center for Chinese products in the Western Hemisphere.
The proposed complex would house 3,040 showrooms, divided among 14 industrial sectors and targeting wholesalers from across Latin America. Projections estimate that it would draw 1 million people a year to a resort that already is the most popular beach destination in the Western Hemisphere.
But just one month ahead of its expected groundbreaking, the $180 million Dragon Mart Cancun is drawing loud objections from an odd alliance of Mexican environmentalists, who worry about the predicted surge in visitors, and business interests, who fear competition from inexpensive Chinese imports.
“We categorically and overwhelmingly oppose the initiative to install a Dragon Mart on our national territory,” the Confederation of Industrial Chambers of Mexico, the nation's largest industrial group, said in a December statement.
The group said it was worried about China's past practices of “under invoicing, fake receipts, price subsidies, weak tax collection, almost null labor requirements and zero commitment to the environment.”
“The project may represent a beachhead for the massive arrival of Chinese products in conditions of unfair trade that may affect national industry and production chains,” the group added.
A business-supported think tank, the Center for Economic Studies of the Private Sector, said last week that it agreed with those concerns. It noted in a statement that China has chalked up 643 anti-dumping complaints through mid-2012, more than any other member of the World Trade Organization. Mexico has lodged 19 of those complaints.
It called on authorities to conduct “a serious and urgent investigation” of the business plan of Dragon Mart Cancun to ensure that competition will be fair.
Already, the overseers of Dragon Mart Cancun have made concessions. For one, Juan Carlos Lopez, the director general of Dragon Mart Cancun, said the expo had decided to ban exhibits by Chinese sellers of shoes and clothing.
“These two industries are very sensitive in Mexico,” he said.
Another concession, Lopez said, is that the expo center will no longer be only for Chinese vendors but also for vendors from around the world.
If the project goes ahead as planned, it would follow the rough model of Dragon Mart Dubai, the first effort by Chinese business and industry to set up a showroom center abroad to promote Chinese products. Dragon Mart Dubai, which measures more than 1,300 yards from end to end, opened in 2004.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Israeli PM Olmert sentenced to prison for taking campaign money from American
- Eiffel Tower temporarily shut down as employees walk out
- Tornado ravages U.S.-Mexico border towns
- Kobani refugees stranded in Turkey
- Iran to try Washington Post reporter in closed court on spying charges
- 19 officers, 7 soldiers killed in siege of Afghan police compound
- Japan to participate in joint exercise with U.S., Australia
- Conservative populist Duda becomes Poland’s president