Mexico Aims for Agreement on Sugar Exports to U.S.

October 2, 2014

10/01/14 Wall Street Journal 

sugarMexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Wednesday that Mexico is seeking a negotiated settlement to a dispute over Mexican sugar exports to the U.S., but that failure to reach an accord could lead Mexico to take the case to the World Trade Organization. The U.S. government in August imposed preliminary tariffs on Mexican sugar imports following complaints by U.S. sugar growers that the Mexican government subsidizes the domestic industry, allowing Mexico to flood the U.S. market with cheap sugar, harming U.S. producers.

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Despite Drop in Homicides, Mexico’s Crimes Said to Increase

October 1, 2014

09/30/14 Bloomberg

survey opinion checklistDespite a decline in homicides, other crimes in Mexico rose for a second straight year in 2013, affecting more than a third of households as muggings, extortion and kidnappings all increased, according to a government survey Tuesday. The National Statistics Institute, or Inegi, said there were 33.1 million crimes committed last year against 22.5 million victims, or close to 42,000 crimes per 100,000 in the general population. The number of crimes was up 19% from 27.8 million in 2012. The new survey excludes homicides. Inegi officials declined to comment on the implications of the survey, which was conducted in March and April of this year. Alejandro Schtulmann, a political analyst at the Empra consultancy, said the increase in crime in 2013 continued a trend of recent years, and attributed it partly to the lack of effective local and state police forces.

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Slim Enriches Himself With Breakup He Resisted: Corporate Mexico

October 1, 2014

09/30/14 Bloomberg

carlos-slim

Carlos Slim, the billionaire who successfully protected a telecommunications monopoly in Mexico for more than two decades, scored one of his biggest financial windfalls by finally giving into the government. Shares of Slim’s America Movil SAB (AMXL) have soared 24 percent this quarter, the biggest gain in five years, as the company said in July it would sell assets worth about $17.5 billion amid a push by lawmakers and regulators to force competition on the country’s dominant phone companies and broadcasters. The stock’s advance was almost four times the average for emerging-market telecommunications companies, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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U.S. Judge Says Wal-Mart Must Face Mexican-Bribe Claims

October 1, 2014

10/01/14 Bloomberg

Photo by Flikr user elmadaWal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) was ordered by a federal judge in Arkansas to face a pension fund’s claims the retailer defrauded shareholders by concealing corruption tied to bribes allegedly paid by officials of its Mexican unit. U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in Fayetteville rejected Wal-Mart’s bid to throw out the Michigan-based fund’s lawsuit accusing it of making misleading statements to regulators about claims it paid bribes to facilitate Mexican real-estate deals. The world’s largest retailer has said it’s spent $439 million since 2012 in connection with investigations into allegations that employees paid bribes in Mexico, China, India and Brazil. Both U.S. and Mexican prosecutors have said they are probing whether executives of Wal-Mart’s Mexican unit were paying off local officials to clear the way for construction of new stores and warehouses.

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Carstens Sees Slower Mexico Inflation as Gasoline Gains Ease

October 1, 2014

09/30/14 Bloomberg

finance-market_dataMexico’s central bank has done a “good job” in helping guide the economy and the inflation rate will probably near its 3 percent target toward the middle of next year, Governor Agustin Carstens said. A change in the way gasoline prices are fixed will help curb the rise in broader consumer costs, Carstens said in an interview with El Financiero-Bloomberg TV, according to a transcript. Favorable comparisons with inflation this year, when the nation implemented a tax increase, will also help lower the annual rate starting in January, he said. Stable inflation expectations have allowed policy makers to lower interest rates to boost the economy in the absence of pressures on core inflation, which excludes farm and energy costs, Carstens said. Policy makers cut borrowing costs 1.5 percentage points in a 15-month period to 3 percent, the lowest in Latin America, to revive an economy that struggled to bounce back from its weakest expansion since 2009.

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Court rules Nokia Mexico must pay damages to buyers of faulty phones

September 29, 2014

09/29/14 Reuters

using smartphoneA Mexican court has ruled Nokia Mexico S.A. de C.V must pay damages to customers who bought defective mobile phones prior to the handset maker’s takeover by Microsoft Corp, a government agency said on Sunday. A Mexico City court found in favor of federal consumer protection agency Profeco in a suit first filed in 2010 against Nokia Mexico before Finnish parent Nokia sold its mobile business to Microsoft – a sale which was completed this year. The agency said Nokia Mexico customers that had been affected by faulty Nokia equipment would be able to seek damages even if they had not yet presented complaints.

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Mexico Holds 8 in Army in Inquiry of 22 Deaths

September 29, 2014

09/26/14 New York Times

justice - gavel and bookAn army officer and seven soldiers have been detained by the Mexican Defense Department in connection with the killing of 22 people in what is being investigated as a possible massacre in western Mexico in June. The arrests, on charges of crimes against military discipline, disobedience and dereliction of duty, announced in a statement late Thursday, represent a reversal for the military and some senior Mexican officials. The officials initially described the encounter on June 30 in San Pedro Limón as a shootout between soldiers and local gang members, with the soldiers firing in self-defense. “The official story is falling apart,” said José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas division.

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