Oil shock to tilt Mexico energy opening in private sector’s favor

December 22, 2014

Reuters 12/22/2014

8380385183_92df689d14_zThe allure of investing in Mexico’s historic oil sector opening has been dimmed by the plummeting price of crude, putting pressure on the government to offer bigger incentives to private investors in the first major round of contracts up for grabs.

Mexico, the world’s 10th biggest crude producer, last week announced bidding terms for the first set of production-sharing contracts, unveiling 14 shallow-water exploration blocks that will pay winning firms a share of each project’s output.

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Mexican telecoms regulator opens probe into market practices

December 22, 2014

Reuters 12/19/2014

7247583610_f48373bda0_zMexico’s telecoms regulator has opened a fresh antitrust investigation into companies offering voice, data ad video services, which could affect Carlos Slim’s telephone company America Movil and broadcaster Televisa.

Announced in the government’s official gazette on Friday, the investigation by the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) focuses on companies’ market practices, and whether they are using their position to gain unfair advantage.

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Mexico competition watchdog signs off on AT&T’s Iusacell buy

December 22, 2014

Reuters 12/21/2014

13054621683_d35091f24a_zMexico’s competition regulator on Sunday approved AT&T Inc’s $1.7 billion purchase of local cellphone company Iusacell, with unspecified conditions, a statement said.

The Federal Competition Commission said it set conditions on the deal to “avoid risks to the process of competition” in marketswhere Iusacell would compete with Carlos Slim’s America Movil, which previously counted AT&T as a minority investor.

Mexico’s government earlier this year implemented reforms to shake up its telecom and broadcast market by weakening the dominance of broadcaster Televisa and billionaire Slim’s cellphone and fixed-line company America Movil.

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Mexico’s church calls for government to change response to violence

December 22, 2014

Al Jazeera 12/21/2014

8848589123_cb53cced50_zMexico’s Roman Catholic Church is calling on the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto to make changes to its strategies for dealing with the crisis of violence and impunity that is shaking the country.

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera told reporters on Sunday that such changes “are absolutely necessary” and he emphasized that Pope Francisco is monitoring events in Mexico with concern, and not just the disappearance of 43 students from a rural teachers college in southern Guerrero state. Mexican church leaders will meet with relatives of the missing students in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero on Monday and will celebrate a Mass, according to church officials.

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New Publication: Echoes of 1992: The NAFTA Negotiations and North America Now

December 17, 2014

firmaTwo decades ago, Canada, Mexico, and the United States created a continental economy. The road to integration from the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement has not been a smooth one. Along the way, Mexico lived through a currency crisis, a democratic transition, and the rising challenge of Asian manufacturing. Canada stayed united despite surging Quebecois nationalism during the 1990s; since then, it has seen dramatic economic changes with the explosion of hydrocarbon production and a much stronger currency. The United States saw a stock-market bust, the shock of 9/11, and the near-collapse of its financial system. All of these events have transformed the relationships that emerged after NAFTA entered into force in 1994.

Given the tremendous changes, one might be skeptical that the circumstances and details of the negotiation and ratification of NAFTA hold lessons for the future of North America. However, the road to NAFTA had its own difficulties, and many of the issues involved in the negotiations underpin today’s challenges. NAFTA was conceived at a time of profound change in the international system. When Mexican leaders surveyed the world two decades ago, they saw emerging regional groupings in Europe, Asia, and South America. Faced with a lack of interest or compatibility, they instead doubled down on North America. How did Mexican leaders reconsider their national interests and redefine Mexico’s role in the world in light of those transformations? Unpublished Mexican documents from SECOFI, the secretariate most involved in negotiating NAFTA, help illustrate Mexican thinking about its interests and role at that time. Combining those insights with analysis of newly available evidence from U.S. presidential archives, this paper sheds light on the negotiations that concluded two decades ago.

Read the publication here.

Mexican Chamber of Deputies approves an historic reform on science and technology.

December 16, 2014

“I cannot fail to mention the ‘High-Level Innovation Forum for Policymakers’ organized by the IDEA Foundation and the Wilson Center in the last two years in Washington DC. To all who participated in the organization of those forums my deepest appreciation and gratitude. This reform is because of you. The science, technology and innovation reform will be for the benefit of our common goal that is Mexico,” said the Federal Deputy, when addressing the floor, referring to the two High-Level Innovation Forums organized by the Mexico Institute for Mexican Legislators in 2013 and 2014 in Washington, D.C.

The Chamber of Deputies just approved the reforms on the federal laws on Science and Technology and Federal Administrative Responsibility  the with 373 votes in favor and none against.

The reform establishes a regulation to foster technology transfer that will allow the researchers of public institutions to link-up with the private sector. It will also let academics create their own companies to foster the innovation in the country.

“It is a a historic step for the development of science in Mexico,” said Deputy Irazema González, secretary of the Commission of Science and Technology.

As a summary of the Forum held in 2013, the Mexico Institute launched the report “Fostering Innovation in Mexico.” The publication addresses some of the key issues to understand the innovation in the changing global economy, as well as way to promote an ecosystem of innovation in Mexico.

To access the English version of the report: http://bit.ly/1swUmS8

For the Spanish version: http://bit.ly/1swUtgn

Mexico suffers slings and arrows as second act of its Shakespearean drama unfolds

December 15, 2014

12/14/2014 Financial Times

In Shakespearea7510812870_91063f01b1_zn tragedies, the second act — when the drama builds alongside the setbacks the protagonists must overcome — is often the longest and most painful. Something similar may now be happening to Mexico and its economy as the oil price slumps.

By early 2014, the government was riding high. Mr. Peña Nieto was dubbed the “Man who saved Mexico” by Time magazine. Investors rubbed their hands at the $50bn of foreign direct investment expected in Mexican energy by 2020- All was going well. But now, in the second act, the glory has started to fade: the protagonist must prove his mettle, and the audience is growing increasingly restless.

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