MEXICO CITY — The relationship between U.S. and Mexican plastics firms may get a little smoother now that Guadalajara native Lorenza Torres has moved to Atlanta and married Larry Parmet. Torres is now Mexico's plastics ambassador to the United States, and she hopes to become the bilingual liaison of her home country.
"Right now what I'm figuring is the best way to do it," Torres said. "[Americans] looking for opportunities in Mexico can contact me and I will work to give them information, instead of them calling directly to Mexico."
And the relationship should work in the other direction as well, she said.
"If Mexican contacts want to find U.S. partners, they can call me," she said.
The wedding between Torres and Parmet, both veterans of the plastics industry, is symbolic of the two country's increasing trade ties.
Torres recently stepped down as vice president of the Asociaci¢n Nacional de Industrias del Pl stico A.C., Mexico's largest plastics industry association commonly known by its initials ANIPAC. The association represents more than 300 companies in Mexico from all links of the plastics supply and production chain.
After marrying Parmet and announcing to her family and employer she would be relocating to Atlanta, Torres said, "ANIPAC asked me if I can start representing them here," Torres said.
A graduate from the University of Houston, Torres speaks fluent English, knows the industry in Mexico and is versed in the differences in doing business on both sides of the border.
"What we want to do is make Americans feel comfortable getting information in the States about business in Mexico," she said.
ANIPAC's main goal right now, Torres said, is to develop a working relationship with the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., as well as the Brookfield, Conn.-based Society of Plastics Engineers.
"I just started contacting them to figure out what we can do to help firms get in contact with each other," Torres said.
Torres just arrived in the United States, and it was too soon for SPI to comment on ANIPAC's efforts, though a spokeswoman did confirm that Torres has been in communication with SPI President Donald Duncan.
"We will be meeting in the next month with the SPI and SPE," Torres said.
Torres' experience in the industry comes from her family's business, Kartell de Mexico SA de CV, a $15 million, 450-employee plastics injection molding and extruding company that mainly produces kitchenware and outdoor furniture for the Mexican market.
Parmet's plastics recycling firm in Gainesville, Ga., Sundance Products Inc., also recorded about $15 million in sales last year and has 140 employees.
Ricardo A. Ric rdez, director of the Mexico City-based industry consulting firm Internacional de Asesor¡a y Sumistros Industriales, is optimistic about the future of Mexican-American relations in the plastics industry.
"For years, and especially under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the partnership between Mexico and the United States in this industry is growing. And this relationship is just beginning," he said. "This is precisely the reason why ANIPAC is creating a presence in the United States."