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Herbert: Trade mission bolstered ties to Mexico

Published April 17, 2014 5:04 pm

Economic development • Three Utah companies used tour to unveil expansion plans.
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Gov. Gary Herbert proclaimed his recent trade mission to Mexico a success after three Utah-based companies used the tour to release plans to expand operations there.

Space Monkey, doTerra International and Converus all announced new ventures during the governor's April 7-10 trade mission, which included 39 Utah business leaders and six government officials.

"Utah and Mexico have a rich history of economic trade," Herbert said, noting that Utah exports to Mexico last year approached $550 million. "We can maximize the expertise and business opportunities we have in common and explore new ones. There is room to deepen that relationship to benefit both economies."

Converus, a company from Lehi, introduced its patent-pending lie-detection technology, dubbed EyeDetect, at a three-day technology conference in Mexico City because most of its funding came from Alta Ventures Mexico.

"This enabled us to accelerate the commercialization of this new technology and bring it to the market one year earlier," said Converus CEO and President Todd Mickelsen, noting that it took University of Utah scientists a decade to develop a "computer-based exam that monitors eye behavior to detect deception."

Alta Ventures' financial involvement also prompted Salt Lake City-based Space Monkey to move the manufacturing of its computer cloud-storage devices to Guadalajara from Shanghai, China.

Clint Gordon-Carroll, CEO of the Salt Lake City-based company, said in a release that some parts will still come from China, but moving most production to Mexico "makes business sense. Competitive pricing, simpler logistics, quality labor and reduced shipping costs combine to make this choice a no-brainer."

Orem-based doTerra International said it has established a Mexican subsidiary to oversee sales of its "therapeutic-grade essential oils, oil-infused personal care and spa products, dietary supplements and healthy-living products."

Product sales are expected to begin soon, said doTerra spokesman Armando Contreras.

"With Mexico's GDP [gross domestic product] at $1.3 trillion in 2013," said Spencer Eccles, executive director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, "Utah has tremendous opportunities for expanding business relationships in Mexico."

The trade mission also included a session in which the Utah delegation learned of things being done in Mexico City to reduce its air pollution, once considered among the world's worst.

In addition, Utah and the state of Mexico signed a friendship and cooperation agreement to promote economic relationships, tourism, education and culture.


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