November 26, 2014
Mexican factory exports expanded by the most in over five years last month while consumer imports also rose, in a sign that a recovery in Latin America’s No. 2 economy may be gaining steam. Factory exports jumped 5.38 percent in October from September in seasonally adjusted terms off a contraction the prior month, the national statistics agency said on Wednesday, marking its biggest jump since August 2009. The rise was fueled by a 8.5 percent increase in auto exports, its best showing since February, and a 3.93 increase in non-auto factory exports. Most of Mexico’s exports are manufactured goods and nearly 80 percent of its exports are sent to the United States.
November 26, 2014
Delegations from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezuela have met for the first time in such a format for talks in Vienna to discuss rapidly dropping oil prices. The group agreed to monitor prices for a year. The energy ministers have not agreed upon cutting oil production, as such agreements can only be reached during OPEC meetings, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez said following the talks held at the Park Hyatt in Vienna on Tuesday. He added that the group also believes the current oil prices are too low, and named a fair price at $100 per barrel.
November 25, 2014
The past few months have been a difficult time for Mexico. In a recent article for the World Politics Review I explained, “Autumn has been a difficult season for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Public furor has erupted into sustained and sometimes violent protests over the disappearance of 43 students in the rural southwestern state of Guerrero. Long one of Mexico’s poorest, most crime-ridden and isolated states, Guerrero had not been a priority for Pena Nieto’s administration, which has focused tirelessly on promoting the image of a modern and efficient Mexico to foreign investors.” Although 2014 has marked a number of successful economic reforms and an uptick in economic growth, Mexico’s autumn has been sullied by scandals.
November 25, 2014
November 2014 Mexico Institute
By Duncan Wood, Christopher Wilson, Alejandro Garcia
Mexicans are creative and entrepreneurial. Some of the world’s most notable and widely-used technologies have their roots in Mexico. Mexican chemist, Luis Miramontes, for instance, co-invented the progestin used in the first contraceptive pills. Mexican engineer, Guillermo González Camarena received the world’s first patent for the color television. And Mexican writer, Victor Celorio invented InstaBook, the technology that produces a perfect-bound book in one step and just two minutes. Mexico has a fine tradition of science and innovation, and President Enrique Peña Nieto is right to say, “Mexico should recognize, value, and take advantage of the great value of our human resources.” It is the Mexican entrepreneur that has been and will continue to be the strength of the nation’s economy and the driver of innovation.
To increase understanding of the benefits and challenges of innovation and to aid in the development of policy recommendations that encourage innovation in Mexico, the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars held a High-Level Innovation Forum for Policymakers in November 2013. The forum covered several topics related to innovation, including: entrepreneurship, financing innovative businesses, regulation, spillovers between universities and companies and the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Questions examined at the forum included: How has the global economy changed, and what does it mean for innovation? How should we be thinking about innovation? What conditions are necessary for innovation to thrive? How can we attract greater investment for innovation activities? What types of government policies and regulations can strengthen innovation? How can we better integrate science and technology into practical applications? What are the barriers to innovation, and how can we overcome them? This publication summarizes the main themes of the conference and highlights some lessons learned (the publication is available both in English and Spanish).
November 20, 2014
The dusty, industrial town of Ciudad Frontera,Mexico, has moved from the far reaches of the global auto supply chain to the front lines of an investigation into why air bags from Takata Corp are blowing up with lethal force in accidents. The Takata plant there has been confirmed as the source of defective air bags made in 2001 and 2002 and again around 2012, according to recall records, automakers and regulators. In 2006, the factory blew up, driving home for workers and residents the volatility and risk of the explosive compound at the core of Takata’s air bags. Now, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ordered Tokyo-based Takata Corp (7312.T) to submit a wide array of records, including those pertaining to manufacturing controls at the Mexican plant, as part of an investigation into why its air bags have shot shrapnel at drivers in five fatal accidents from Oklahoma to Malaysia.
November 20, 2014
Takata plans to shift production of BMW air bag inflators from Mexico to Germany, the automaker said on Wednesday in a filing with U.S. safety regulators who have been probing questions about the quality of manufacturing at the plant. Automakers that use the Takata inflators, including Toyota Motor Corp, warned that it was not feasible to switch to other suppliers to meet demand for replacement parts. The Takata inflators are at risk of blowing up with too much force and spraying occupants with metal shrapnel. Germany’s BMW said in a filing posted online by U.S. safety regulators that it is supporting efforts by Takata to shift inflator production from its plant in Monclova, Mexico, to another Takata plant in Freiberg, Germany. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Takata inflators linked to at least five deaths.
November 17, 2014
11/15/14 The Miami Herald
Visiting this country after several months, more than a month after the disappearance and likely murder of 43 students by drug gangs in cahoots with local authorities in the state of Guerrero, feels like arriving in a different country. Only a few months ago, President Enrique Peña Nieto was receiving an award for “statesman of the year” in New York, and his government’s bold energy and education reforms were being heralded by world media as the start of a “Mexican Moment” that would put this country on a fast track to the First World. But now, while Mexico’s economy continues to do much better than that of Venezuela, Argentina or Brazil, Mexicans have suddenly become enraged over the country’s endemic violence, and over a series of new scandals that are widely seen as signs of massive political corruption. Whoever you talk to, poor and rich, agree that the Sept. 26-27 killings in the town of Iguala — alongside new scandals involving possible government corruption in a murky $3.7 billion high-speed train construction bid awarded to a Chinese consortium, and the purchase of a $7 million mansion by first lady Angelica Rivero — have led to Peña Nieto’s worst political crisis since he took office two years ago.