© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a news conference at the Secretariat of Security and Civilian Protection in Mexico City, Mexico March 9, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexican authorities announced on Monday details of a government plan to attract businesses to a coastal corridor along a southern stretch of the country, part of a larger bid to pump investment into the long-neglected region.
The project is a priority of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and aims to link Mexico’s Pacific and Gulf coasts via a freight rail line and build multiple industrial parks designed to attract manufacturing to poorer parts of the country.
Officials announced details for 10 industrial parks along the corridor connecting the Pacific port of Salina Cruz in Oaxaca state with the Gulf coast hub of Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz state.
Four of the parks will be located in Veracruz and six in Oaxaca, officials said during an event touting the potential of the Interoceanic Corridor development plan.
The government will formally announce tax incentives for the parks this week, according to Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro.
The project would boost the “nearshoring” trend of moving production from Asia to North America, said Alejandro Encinas, Buenrostro’s deputy minister.
The plan’s anchor project, a transoceanic freight rail line, aims to ultimately compete with the Panama Canal for moving trade goods across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico’s narrowest point.
Lopez Obrador has repeatedly argued that southern states like Oaxaca are prime for investment versus the country’s more industrial north.
He has also touted southern Mexico’s more ample water resources.
Buenrostro noted that Lopez Obrador would soon issue a decree fleshing out changes to water-usage concessions, including rules specifying that companies seeking water in states where the resource is scarce must petition the president for an exception.
The minister added that the Interoceanic Corridor project will be presented to companies from the United States, Canada, Taiwan and Germany, among others.
This story originally appeared on Investing