Magazine article Security Management

Experts Project Prospects for Mexico, China, Pakistan

Magazine article Security Management

Experts Project Prospects for Mexico, China, Pakistan

Article excerpt

As businesses expand all over the world, their security departments must ensure that conducting international business is safe. U.S. Department of State officers recently forecast a security outlook, particularly with regard to the threat of terrorist activity, for three countries: Mexico, China, and Pakistan. (The officers emphasized that their views do not necessarily reflect the position or policies of the U.S. government.)

Mexico. Sharing a border of more than 2,000 miles with the United States, Mexico tempts the American investment dollar. Overall, security in Mexico is good with regard to the potential for terrorism. "Although several indigenous groups possess the capability to conduct low-level attacks, there are no indications that Americans are being targeted," says Mark Wrighte, analyst, Office of Intelligence and Threat Analysis, Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS/DSS/ITA). "Indigenous elements are primarily antigovernment, not anti-U.S."

Street crime is a different matter. Mexico continues to be wracked by high crime, due in part to corrupt and ill-equipped police. A particular threat is taxicab robbery, as an estimated 20,000 illegal cabs operate in Mexico City alone. Also on the rise are ATM robberies and truck hijackings, Wrighte notes.

Drug cartel battles and internal cartel power struggles are spilling into the streets and being "settled more often than ever with attacks at public venues," Wrighte says. "Cartel members have begun to conduct brazen assassinations with no regard for innocent bystanders." While President Vicente Fox has vowed to extirpate government corruption connected to narco-trafficking, "this delicate situation could take years to remedy," Wrighte says.

China. As China increasingly opens its doors, it is becoming a more popular site for investment. Security prospects there are still generally favorable, despite a spurt in crime and corruption in recent years. "China still ranks as a relatively low threat country with regard to terrorism and crime," says Jim Dunne, senior analyst, DS/DSS/ITA.

"Most westerners who encounter security problems do so as a result of unfamiliarity with Chinese laws, customs, and business practices," says Dunne. In a few cases, foreign businessmen have been subjected to passport confiscation, police detentions, and confrontations with disgruntled employees. But overall, he says, foreign investors can generally avoid these problems by making sure that they are complying with all government regulations and local business practices. …

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