June 6, 2013
Forget the hype about China – Mexico is the next big thing for automakers. “Mexico is the next China,” Ferrari North America CEO Marco Mattiacci said during a panel discussion today about the future of luxury. He was joined by Burgess Yachts CEO Jonathan Beckett and Gotham Jets CEO Gianpaolo De Felice for the hour-long talk, which was held aboard the $40 million yacht KATYA berthed in the Hudson River off New York’s West Side Highway.
Mattiacci said the massive growth anticipated in revenue and manufacturing didn’t necessarily pertain to Ferrari but to a broader 13-year expansion in the auto industry due mainly to dramatic wealth creation, an increased appetite for industry and from considerable investments from abroad. “We see indicators that lot of manufacturing is moving back to Mexico,” Mattiacci said. “The quality of education is absolutely outstanding, and you have a proximity with the U.S. as well. Plus there has been a change of government.”
June 4, 2013
Unlike in the U.S., where student loans are run of the mill, few Mexicans have access to the financing that could help them pay for a college education. Mexicans aspiring to middle-class status increasingly see university education as a must. Yet an over-saturated public university system accepts just a fraction of applicants, and many aspirants lack the means to pay for private college. That’s where FINAE, an institution specializing in financing higher education, comes in.
In a credit market for higher education still in its infancy, FINAE is serving a population that traditional banks have mostly ignored: students who are the first in their family to attend college, whose families fall into a bracket with middle-class aspirations, if not income. Parents think about education like an inheritance, says Celia Guerra, director of financial aid at Mexico’s private Universidad Panamericana, which facilitates FINAE credits. She says parents tell her: “Since I don’t have money, all I can leave my children is an education so that they can get ahead on their own.”
June 3, 2013
The leaders of Mexico and China will meet for the second time in two months this week, a sign of deepening cooperation, even as the Latin American nation seeks to close a huge trade deficit. Chinese President Xi Jinping will be treated to a lavish two-day state visit in Mexico that begins on Tuesday, with an event at the Campo Marte military field with President Enrique Pena Nieto and a speech to Congress. Pena Nieto already met with Xi when he visited China in April, four months after taking office in a trip that observers say shows his desire to cast aside old trade rivalries in favour of a closer partnership.
“There is a new dynamic in the relationship between the two countries,” Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos de Icaza told AFP. The arrival of two new presidents – Xi took office in March – “opens an opportunity to strengthen political dialogue and find ways to ensure that the flow of trade and investments between both nations is more balanced,” he said. The two sides are expected to sign 10 agreements in fields such as trade, investments, infrastructure, science and education.
May 13, 2013
The Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2013
Mexican students studying to be teachers released a hostage on Wednesday—in the municipality of Nahuatzen—due to concerns about his health. But they continue to hold five others. The students are supported by the Michoacán State Teachers Organization, which warned that the remaining captives, who are state policemen, would be freed only when a demand for 1,200 new teaching jobs is met.
The Mexican standoff, now a week old, is only the latest example of a teacher-union rebellion against recent amendments to the Mexican constitution aimed at improving public education. Institutional Revolutionary Party President Enrique Peña Nieto has made it a priority to fix the broken public-education system. But eager reformers are often tested by politically powerful interests in their first year in office. The teachers believe they can make him back down.
May 7, 2013
By Andres Oppenheimer, The Miami Herald, 5/5/2013
Forget all the headlines about immigration, security and drug issues during President Barack Obama’s visit to Mexico last week: the most important (and least noticed) result of his trip may have dealt with an entirely different topic — student exchanges. Sounds boring, but it’s potentially the most exciting thing that came out of Obama’s visit: If the bilateral plan to dramatically increase student exchanges becomes a reality, it could mark a turning point in the history of U.S.-Mexican relations, and in the development of a vibrant North American economic bloc.
Right now, despite the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement among the United States, Mexico and Canada, the level of U.S.-Mexico academic exchanges is pathetic. Only 13,700 Mexican students are enrolled in U.S. colleges, compared with 194,000 from China, 100,000 from India and 72,000 from South Korea, according to the “Open Doors’’ study of the Institute of International Education. Even Vietnam, a poor Communist country with a smaller population than Mexico’s, has more students in U.S. colleges (15,000) than Mexico, the IIE figures show.
To read the Mexico Institute’s latest publication on this issue, click here.
May 3, 2013
The Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.
What the English-language press had to say…
This week, President Obama met with Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto. During his visit Obama sought to recast the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship in terms of economic and not just security, cooperation. He called for an end to “old stereotypes” and a need “to recognize new realities.” In an op-ed for Fox News Latino, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio Garza argued the time is ripe to advance bilateral relations in terms of security, migration and trade.
Years of “unprecedented closeness” and security cooperation between U.S. and Mexican intelligence agencies were said to be in jeopardy. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, TIME Magazine and The Washington Post all commented on the current Mexican government’s decision to curb American involvement in the war against violent drug cartels.
Two recently conducted surveys – one prepared by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Woodrow Wilson Center; the other by the Pew Research Center – presented interesting results regarding American attitudes towards Mexico and Mexican views towards Americans.
The Peña Nieto administration’s reformist agenda enjoyed yet another victory when a bill to reform Mexico’s tightly controlled telecommunications sector won final approval in the Mexican Congress. Despite this, however, Reuters reported on the growing tensions within the Pacto por México, and said further cooperation between the three main political parties would likely be put on hold until a vote-buying scandal is resolved. Meanwhile, The Christian Science Monitor reported on the joint bid by San Diego and Tijuana to hold the first U.S.-Mexico cross-border Olympic games in 2024.
Read the rest of this entry »
May 3, 2013
Washington Post, 5/3/2013
Calling for an end to “old stereotypes,” President Barack Obama on Friday portrayed Mexico as an emerging nation that is remaking itself and said the U.S.-Mexico relationship should be defined by shared prosperity, not by threats that both countries face. “It’s time to recognize new realities,” he declared.
In a speech to a predominantly student audience, Obama conceded that the root of much violence in Mexico is the demand for drugs in the United States, and acknowledged that most guns used to commit crime in this country come from the U.S. But he said an improving economy is changing Mexico and improving its middle class.
May 2, 2013
Mexico Institute, 5/2/2013
At a time when the Mexican and United States governments are looking for an opportunity to diversify the bilateral agenda and strengthen the economic relationship, there is an urgent need to focus on the long term challenges of competitiveness and human capital in the region. Questions of infrastructure, standards, border procedures and energy are all crucial to this equation, but an emerging issue that has been little discussed in the public sphere is that of educational cooperation. Several experts and government officials have long recognized this as a potential growth area in the bilateral relationship, but there are now greater opportunities than ever to further develop educational collaboration.
April 29, 2013
ABC News/Univision, 4/26/13
A Mexican teachers’ strike that began two months ago turned violent this week, with rebel “maestros” looting, burning and partially destroying the offices of Mexico’s three main political parties in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero state. The looting started after a peaceful march in which teachers had gone to the Guerrero State Assembly to protest a local law, that reinforces the Mexican President’s plans for education reform.
President Enrique Peña Nieto wants to improve Mexico’s weak education system by obliging teachers in Guerrero and elsewhere to take standardized tests in order to keep their jobs. His national education law would also put the government in charge of hiring teachers, a process that is currently controlled by teachers unions.
April 26, 2013
The New York Times, 4/25/13
One of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s signature efforts to shake up the country — a broad plan to overhaul the education system — has run into violent protests that underscore how difficult it may be to carry out, particularly in some volatile states with poor academic performance. Armed with iron rods and rocks, dozens of masked members of the teachers’ union in Guerrero State attacked the local offices of the four major political parties on Wednesday, smashing windows and overturning furniture. They also set fire to the office of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to which Mr. Peña Nieto belongs.
On Thursday, in a further sign of the growing conflict over education changes, teachers marched down Mexico City’s main boulevard, temporarily closing it down. The education overhaul, which transfers power from the potent teachers’ union to the federal government, proposes periodic teacher evaluations to determine appointments, salaries and dismissals — a major adjustment for workers who are accustomed to buying or inheriting their positions and who have had, until now, virtual immunity from the state.
Click here for pictures and video of the riots.