El Bronco El Bronco: opacity is the cloak of corruption.

NL cites transparency, reveals Kia contract

Agreement spells out terms of Kia's investment in Nuevo León assembly plant

The new independent governor of Nuevo León has made public the contract his predecessor signed with Korean auto maker Kia Motors México, citing the importance of transparency.

But publication of the documents might put the state in some legal hot water due to a confidentiality clause they contain.

The contract spells out the accords made between the state and the South Korean manufacturer to permit the latter to build a US $1.5-billion assembly plant in Pesquería, part of the Monterrey metropolitan area.

The company announced just three days ago that the plant was complete, 13 months after ground was broken, making it the fastest construction time for any facility in Kia’s history.

The next step consists quality assurance testing and pilot production of the Forte compact sedan over the next six months. However, pilot production has been set back by two weeks, according to a company spokesman, because some elements of the infrastructure promised by the state are not yet in place.

They include water supply, rainwater drainage, electricity and natural gas.

In another report, the company said some parts of the plant were as much as six months behind schedule due to the state’s failure to fulfill its obligations. Chief among them is the relocation of a gas pipeline operated by gas distributor Kinder Morgan.

It crosses the land on which the plant sits, and represents a danger to thousands of workers.

Other benefits provided by the state were a 20-year corporate tax holiday, a five-year property tax holiday, special credit terms, the donation of 132 hectares of land, and highway and rail access.

Signed in June 2014, the contract appeared on Facebook late last week, courtesy of the state’s Economic Development Secretariat. In its post on the social media site it said it was proceeding in accord with “a policy of absolute transparency ordered by Independent Governor Jaime Rodríguez Calderón,” and that the government “would demonstrate to everyone in Mexico that it was possible to end opacity, the protective cloak of corruption.”

Rodríguez Calderón, whose nickname is “El Bronco,” made history in June when he won election for governor as an independent candidate.

Kia Motors México said in a statement this afternoon that it was committed to legality and the rule of law and would therefore respect its agreement with the state government, including the confidentiality accords.

The firm also expressed its desire for legal certainty in light of an investment of more than $3 billion by it and its suppliers, that will generate 14,000 direct jobs and 56,000 indirect, thereby fueling the economic and social development of Nuevo León and the northern region of Mexico.

The statement went on to point out the company operates with high standards of transparency and adherence to the rule of law, which have made it one of the global leaders in automotive manufacturing.

There was no mention by the company of any specific action in response to the public airing of its contract.

Source: El Financiero (sp), El Economista (sp)

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