The Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, opened the XXXII Technical Congress of the Interamerican Federation of Cement (FICEM, by its initials in Spanish), same that will take place in Mexico City from August 31 to September 2, 2015.

In his message, the Secretary Guajardo Villarreal emphasized that the structural reforms of the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, have helped to increase the competitiveness and improve the business environment for the entire domestic industry, through reductions in energy costs, increased the competition and opening up new sectors to the foreign investment.

All these conditions, he added, have been fully exploited by the Mexican cement industry. The head of the Secretariat of Economy said that the cement industry has become a representative sector of the national development and that is going on the right path to modernization, basing their activities on the pillars of sustainability, competitiveness and social responsibility.

Gabriel Restrepo, President of the FICEM, said that the challenges are immense and that the cement and concrete industry has a specific mission, as a driving agent of civil works, providing access to goods and services at competitive costs.

He stressed that the Mexican cement industry is an industry benchmark for Latin America and, in general, the FICEM has an important role in the development of the region; however, he said, it faces major challenges such as the climate change, so that "we want to make available to the governments and the entities involved in the deliberations on the subject, in Paris, the plans and commitments that have the global industry to deal this important challenge".

Noting that the Mexican cement industry is a detonator of jobs, Guillermo Álvarez Cuevas, President of the National Chamber of Cement (CANACEM, by its initials in Spanish), reported that currently generates over 22,000 direct jobs and 120,000 indirect, being a vanguard sector, competitive and innovative in its processes and products.

He stressed that Mexico has 35 cement plants installed, so that "we are ready to supply all over the country and thus satisfy the needs of infrastructure of the public and private sectors"; moreover, that the cement companies have maintained, in recent years, a significant pace in their investments.

The Congress agenda will develop issues such as environmental protection, energy efficiency, substitution of fossil fuels and good practices of industrial safety and occupational health.

The FICEM is the entity representative and promoter of the disclosing of technical, regulatory and newsworthy information about the cement industry. It agglomerates 72 cement companies, nine technical institutes and seven trade associations from 26 countries in Latin America, Spain and Portugal. The Members of Mexico are CEMEX, Cementos Holcim-Apasco, Cementos de Chihuahua GCC, Concretos Cruz Azul, Cementos y Concretos Moctezuma, Cementos y Concretos Nationales (CYCNA, by its initials in Spanish), Lafarge-Spain, Mexican Institute of Cement and Concrete (IMCYC, ny its initials in Spanish) and the National Chamber of Cement (CANACEM, by its initials in Spanish).