Three Keys to Understand the 2015 Budget Debate in Mexico

December 10, 2014

By Christopher Wilson and Pedro Valenzuela

mexican pesosEach fall, Mexico’s Congress debates the adminstration’s budget proposal. It was sent to Congress by the Peña Nieto administration in September, and a final version must be passed no later than the end of October to authorize revenue streams and by November 15 to detail expenditures. This is the first budget debate since Mexico’s 2013 fiscal reform was implemented, offering an important opportunity to analyze the impact of the tax policy changes on public income, and consequently, also on expenditures. The administration’s proposal represents a real increase of 1.2%, which, according to the government, will provide the funds to implement the structural reforms and fund new infrastructure and social programs. As a result of the increased spending and a dip in petroleum revenue, the government will continue to run a deficit, and Mexico’s public debt will continue to grow. Each of these three issues—tax collection, public expenditure, and the national debt—are explored in this article, all in context of Mexico’s structural reforms and brightening yet somewhat volatile economic prospects.

At the time of publication, the revenue proposal, which must be passed by both houses of congress, had been approved by the Chamber of Deputies and was in committee in the Senate. The Senate is expected to move the bill to the floor and approve the final version during the last week of October. The Chamber of Deputies made moderate changes to the executive proposal, including an increase in the expected exchange rate from 13 to 13.4 pesos per U.S. dollar and a drop in the expected reference price for oil from $82 to $81 dollars per barrel. After the ley de ingresos, or revenue law, is passed, attention will turn to the ley de egresos, the budget of expenditures, which only needs to be approved by simple majority in the lower house.

Read the article here.

This article was also published on Forbes.com. A shorter, Spanish version of this article is also available.


Human Rights Crisis in Mexico Demands Stronger Response from Mexican Government

December 10, 2014

12/9/2014 Washington Office on Latin America

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP - Getty Images

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP – Getty Images

On December 6, students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ School in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero announced that the remains of Alexander Mora Venancio had been identified. Alexander, along with 42 other students, disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero on September 26, 2014 at the hands of municipal police who were working on behalf of the local mayor, and who then handed the students over to a criminal group. The identification of Alexander’s remains came after over two months of an investigation into the students’ whereabouts; during this time numerous mass graves were discovered in the area. The whereabouts of the other 42 students remain unknown. This tragic case and the inability of the Mexican government to provide their families and Mexican society with prompt and clear information about the students’ whereabouts have unleashed a wave of massive protests in the country.

Read More…


Innovation in Mexico: Can Media Lab S21 Expand Spanish Language Communication?

December 8, 2014

12/4/14 Wilson Center CONTEXT

The MIT Media Lab has set the standard for creating “disruptive technologies” that lead to innovation. A new start up project, Mexico Media Lab S21, is attempting to achieve similar success in the areas of communication, technology, and innovation. Its founder, a former journalist, sees an opportunity to increase Spanish language content on the web, not only in Mexico, but globally as well.

Click here to watch the video.

Read the Mexico Institute‘s newest publication Fostering Innovation in Mexico.

Guests
Nicholas Negroponte is founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association. He was co-founder and director of the MIT Media Lab, and the Jerome B. Wiesner Professor of Media Technology. A graduate of MIT, Negroponte was a pioneer in the field of computer-aided design, and has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1966. Conceived in 1980, the Media Lab opened its doors in 1985. He is also author of the 1995 best seller, Being Digital, which has been translated into more than 40 languages. In the private sector, Negroponte serves on the board of directors for Motorola, Inc. and as general partner in a venture capital firm specializing in digital technologies for information and entertainment. He has provided start-up funds for more than 40 companies, including Wired magazine.

Rossana Fuentes-Berain is the founder of Start Up Mexico Media Lab S21, a media lab dedicated to studying communication among those that will define the 21st century. Prior to her current role, which she began in September 2014, she was the editorial vice president of Grupo Expansión. Before becoming vice president, Fuentes-Berain worked as the director of the opinion section in El Universal, the assistant director for research and special affairs in the newspaper Reforma, and the first female editor of the business section in El Financiero. She has coauthored a number of books and has written for international newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others. Fuentes-Berain has worked in television as a host for Televisa’s Contrapunto and as a professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). Additionally, she was a founder and member of the Editorial Board of Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (formerly known as Foreign Affairs en español).


Death and corruption prove that the idea of a new Mexico was a mirage

November 18, 2014

11/15/14 The Guardian

Mexican Flag XXLIn Mexico, we are now living the end of a dream. In fact, it was always a mirage – the “Mexican moment” as it was called – created with the help of an intense campaign of public relations, a momentary economic surge, massaged statistics claiming a reduction in violence and reforms that, until now, exist only on paper. Then there is the well-groomed presidential figure of Enrique Peña Nieto. He framed himself not only as a reformer but as the very saviour of Mexico. Incredibly, he was honoured by an international press that is now flaying him. Since late September, the world has seen the raw, true face of the “moment”. Three students from a rural teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa were murdered and another 43 “disappeared” on 26 September in the city of Iguala, demonstrating collusion at all levels of the government with organised crime. It also showed the failure of Peña Nieto to guarantee peace, law and justice, each one elemental for the existence of a viable state.

Read More… 


Mexico: How Much Has Changed

January 24, 2014

Mexico BricksThe Huffington Post, 01/23/2014

There are those would say that present-day Mexico is an example of the famous phrase of Giuseppe di Lampedusa (about Sicily of the Risorgimento) that everything has changed so that everything may go on just as it was. And others say that Mexico has not changed at all. I disagree with both views. I have been a witness — from various perspectives — to my country’s political life for almost fifty years and I am quite sure of one thing: Mexico has really changed.

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Mexico in 2014: Can Peña Nieto Consolidate Reform?

January 3, 2014

Enrique Pena NietoBy Duncan Wood

CNN, 1/3/2014

Last year will go down as an extraordinary, historic year in Mexico. A number of structural and political reforms that had been pending for 15 years were approved by the country’s Congress addressing education, labor markets, telecoms competition, financial regulation, fiscal affairs, elections rules and energy. The government of Enrique Peña Nieto remained the darling of international investors throughout the year, and received record levels of foreign direct investment in the first year of its mandate, by following through on his promised reform agenda and delivering the legislation needed to prepare Mexico for a more competitive global economic environment. His ruling PRI (Revolutionary Institutional Party) showed coherence and unity throughout the year, and the other major parties agreed to work closely with the PRI to secure legislative progress.

Read more…

 


Interview: “The Economy is Growing due to NAFTA”

January 2, 2014

NAFTAInterview with Luis de la Calle, a Mexico Institute Advisory Board Member

Reforma, 1/2/2014

With the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico is better today than it was 20 years ago, Luis de la Calle asserts.

A key actor in the agreement’s negotiations when he served as Minister of Trade Issues for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC, he observes that the next step is for the country to convert into a North American export platform.

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