By Mauricio Pantoja
Like a good tourist, I started my trip in Mexico City the right way: eating something familiar. I paid the price. The Subway sub I had tasted miserably. The next day, I ate street tacos al pastor to redeem myself. What redemption! I can still feel the spices dancing on the tip of my tongue.
I love Mexican food. I love its color, smell, and taste. UNESCO is right. Traditional Mexican cuisine is a cultural treasure worth preserving…as long as Montezuma forgives your delectable indulgence and you don’t mind gaining a few pounds. But you can always drink pink fluid to make your stomach feel better and walk down aesthetic Paseo de la Reforma to lose the extra weight.
On Reforma, next to the U.S. Embassy, the Greek goddess Nike holds a broken chain in her left hand. She has freed herself from the shackles of oppression, an event to celebrate with a grito every September 16. The newly elected Mexican president (Mexico has its national elections on July 1), will scream from the Palacio Nacional’s main balcony, “¡Viva México!” Unfortunately, I won’t be in Mexico for the spectacle since my internship ends in August.
I am interning for the U.S. Commercial Service. The agency, a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, helps promote U.S. business interests in Mexico. Specifically, the agency provides trade counseling, market intelligence, access to trade promotion opportunities, and trade advocacy to U.S. firms seeking to export their goods and services to the Mexican market.
The Commercial Service is well-known for its industry and country-specific market reports. Note: I used some of them for my Spring Consulting Project at Sanford. Trade Specialists and Commercial Officers working overseas author these reports to help U.S. firms better understand the local business environment. We interns help. Our responsibilities range from collecting and analyzing data to performing relevant administrative tasks.
The Commercial Service also does an excellent job at organizing trade events. Recently, I participated in a SelectUSA seminar where I met Ambassador Earl Anthony Wayne. SelectUSA is an Obama Administration initiative to spur economic growth and create jobs for American citizens through increasing foreign direct investment. The seminar consisted of guest speakers informing small and medium size Mexican firms on how to invest in the U.S.
If you are interested in obtaining a practical understanding of how public policy interacts with business and economics, this internship is great for you.
Check out the agency’s website: http://trade.gov/cs/.
You can access the market research reports at: http://export.gov/mrktresearch/.