November 12, 2013
The Global Post, 11/11/2013
Mexico’s powerful CCE business federation urged lawmakers to pass an historic energy overhaul without delay, saying the country “can’t wait any longer.”
If congressional approval is delayed, “we Mexicans will continue to pay more for fuel and raw materials,” the president of the CCE’s Energy Commission, Jaime Williams Quintero, said in a statement.
October 2, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 10/1/2013
As Mexico’s upper middle class has grown, Avenida Presidente Masaryk, the main drag in the capital city’s ritzy Polanco district, has transformed from a sleepy street of mom-and-pop shops to Mexico’s version of Rodeo Drive, packed with boutiques including Burberry, Cartier and Bulgari. But over the past two years, Mexico City’s hottest luxury shopping strip has run into growing pains: Rents have fallen and consumers have put the brakes on spending amid a period of economic uncertainty.
September 18, 2013
Los Angeles Times, 9/18/2013
Recently installed U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said trade opportunities with Mexico will expand as economic and security conditions improve in America’s southern neighbor.
Pritzker is headed to Mexico for her first official trade mission Nov. 18. The trip will focus on key industries such as advanced manufacturing and health information technology, she told The Times in a brief interview Tuesday after delivering a keynote address at the U.S. Saudi Business Opportunities Forum in downtown Los Angeles.
September 17, 2013
While major U.S. companies complain about shortages of skilled workers and restricted access to visas thousands of undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America continue to clandestinely cross unguarded sections of the U.S.’s southern border. The debate over immigration reform, a pressing concern for many U.S. executives, continues to stall in Congress.
Many major U.S. corporations are taking public stances to welcome immigrants and support immigration reform efforts. After all, the U.S. Citizenship and immigration Services agency has reported that this year, in less than one week companies petitioned for 124,000 H1-B visas for high skilled foreign workers, even though only 85,000 were available. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the U.S. economy is home to tens of thousands of job openings for candidates with advanced and highly specific skills. Industry leaders have argued that current immigration rules prevent them from hiring enough foreign graduates with advanced degrees to meet their needs.
July 3, 2013
The shale gas boom has done a lot to boost the US economy. It’s such a big deal you can see it from space. All that new natural gas has lowered energy costs, which has led analysts to wonder if it could help make America’s energy-heavy manufacturing businesses more competitive with countries that have low labor costs but over-burdened energy infrastructure. But there’s a lot standing in the way of that vision, including the potential for gas exports to affect the value of the dollar, and the observation that maybe energy costs aren’t such a big deal.
But where the US is faltering, Mexico is taking advantage of all that cheap natural gas to boost factories; last year, pipelines brought more natural gas across the border than ever before. Mexico is already successfully competing with places like China on labor prices, but its energy costs are lower, too. Combine that with its proximity to the United States and deep integration into the American supply chain, and you’ve got a recipe for export-oriented success. Pemex, the country’s state-owned oil company, is spending $3.3 billion to build a new, 750-mile pipeline from Los Ramones, Mexico, near the country’s industrial heartland, to Agua Dulce, near Texas’ shale oil fields.
July 1, 2013
Prepared by Constance McNally
The U.S. Department of Treasury designates individuals under different sanctions programs that freeze any assets that come into any U.S. Jurisdiction. U.S. individuals and entities are also barred from participating in any transaction with a designee. These designations are compiled in a Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List provided to the general public and all financial institutions by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). The U.S. Department of State estimates between $19-$39 billion is sent by drug trafficking organizations annually from the U.S. to Mexico. These designations are (and have been) an important tool in efforts to fight organized crime. As the chart above shows, Mexico-related designations – listing a Mexican national, business, or other connection between an entity and Mexico – have averaged close to 10% of total designations during the past decade.
Designations are also an effective deterrent for legitimate organizations that knowingly or unknowingly assist these criminal enterprises: In 2012 alone, financial institutions paid over $1.13 billion to OFAC in settlements and fines.  Recent headlines, including HSBC’s record breaking $1.9 billion settlement ($375 million of which went to OFAC) for failing to maintain a sufficient anti-money laundering program, indicate designations will continue to be an important tool for the foreseeable future.
June 25, 2013
ABC News/Univision, 6/25/2013
A global race is on to create the next Silicon Valley, and Latin America is rapidly embracing technology and innovation as it vies to be the epicenter of the next tech boom. The stakes aren’t trivial. It’s clear that the countries that can develop new ideas and technology will be the economic winners of the 21st century. That’s why the Brazilian government, for instance, recently launched Startup Brazil, a business accelerator that aims to attract local and foreign talent to build tech companies in Brazil.
The program, which will provide entrepreneurs with up to $100,000 in grant money as well as office space and access to investors, is modeled after Startup Chile, the pioneering business accelerator launched by the Chilean government a few years ago. Chile was the first Latin American country to focus on attracting startups and developing an ecosystem of innovators. Other countries in the region, like Colombia and Peru, have followed their lead.
June 11, 2013
As the United States economy improves, wealthy Mexican businessmen are pouring millions of dollars into the largest economy in the world. They seek to take advantages of their proximity to the U.S. and its foreign investment-friendly laws.
In 2012, Mexican investment in the U.S. went up by 11% and currently stands at $27.9 billion, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City recently reported. Many of these investments come from companies controlled by Mexican billionaires such as Grupo Elektra, Mexico’s largest electronics retailer owned by Ricardo Salinas Pliego; Grupo Bimbo, Mexico’s largest baking company and distributor of U.S. brands like Sara Lee, Arnold and Entenmanns’s, owned by the billionaire Servitje family led by Roberto Servitje; and Gruma, the world largest tortilla maker founded by Roberto Gonzalez Barrera, whose wealth at the time of his death in 2012 was $1.9 billion.
To learn more about U.S.-Mexico business ties, click here.
May 30, 2013
There has been a huge increase in the number of businesses reporting extortion attempts by drug cartels in Mexico, according to a survey by the American Chamber in Mexico. The survey of 541 members of the American group as well as the British and Japanese chambers of commerce in Mexico showed the percentage of firms reporting cartel extortions has doubled. Such problems were reported by 18 percent in 2012, but the number jumped to 36 percent this year even as reports of most of other types of crimes declined.
“Obviously that’s one of the ones that really jumped out when we were studying the graph, because almost all of the other tendencies were down,” Thomas Gillen, chairman of the AmCham Security Committee, said Wednesday. Companies reported fewer thefts of shipments or supplies and fewer threats or attacks on employees in the most recent survey. As for the rise in reported extortion cases, “People might be becoming more comfortable in reporting it, or criminals might be getting better at extorting businesses,” Gillen said.
May 29, 2013
The majority of foreign and domestic companies in Mexico say security has either improved or remained unchanged from last year, and almost half expect more improvement within five years, according to a survey released on Tuesday. In the survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, 42 percent of the 531 respondents said the security situation had improved. “We attribute this mainly to the actions of the federal authorities and the measures undertaken by the companies themselves,” said Thomas Gillen, president of the chamber’s security committee, who presented the findings.
Forty-two percent of respondents said the security situation had not changed and 13 percent said security had deteriorated. More than half of the latter group cited corruption as the cause of the deterioration. Foreign investment in Mexico rose to a six-year high in the first quarter of this year, Mexico’s Economy Ministry said earlier this month, with foreigners pouring $4.99 billion into Latin America’s No. 2 economy as they tried to gain a foothold in its booming manufacturing sector.