Op-ed: Mexico’s New Boom: Why the World Should Tone Down the Hype

March 8, 2013

mexico-flagBy Tim Padgett, TIME, 3/8/2013

I couldn’t be happier that Mexico’s economy is rebounding. After barely 2% average annual growth between 2000 and 2010, the country’s GDP expanded almost 4% in 2011 and 2012. Investment is booming and the middle class is enlarging. Mexico’s manufacturing exports lead Latin America, and its trade as a share of GDP tops China’s. Its No. 53 spot on the World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business rankings far outshines the No. 126 grade of its main regional rival, Brazil; it has signed more free trade agreements (44) than any other country, and it’s enrolling more engineering students than any south of the Rio Grande.

But I emphasize: it’s a trend. It’s not the miracle, the economic version of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that so many Mexico cheerleaders from government officials to foreign investors to embassy diplomats are insisting we call it. Yes, good news from Mexico is more than welcome after a decade overshadowed by horrific narco-violence; a more positive conversation about the country is a relief. But no matter how loudly the enthusiasts scold the media for dwelling on Mexico’s mayhem, the cartel killing hasn’t stopped, and many of the socio-economic ills that help breed the brutality persist. The media didn’t just make up the 60,000 gangland murders of the past seven years, or the relentless massacres and beheadings, or reports like the one released last week by Human Rights Watch about the 27,000 Mexicans who have disappeared during the drug war.

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World Bank Approves $1.35B In Loans For Mexico Poverty, Water

November 9, 2010

The Wall Street Journal, 11/9/2010

The World Bank on Tuesday approved two loans worth a total $1.35 billion for Mexican government programs to fight poverty and improve water services, the Finance Ministry said.

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Crisis left 6 million more in poverty: Secretary of Treasury (in Spanish)

July 22, 2010

Cordero

El Universal, 7/22/2010

The economic crisis caused 5.8 million Mexicans to enter poverty, recognized the Secretary of Treasury, Ernesto Cordero.

The Secretary lamented the increase in Mexicans living in poverty, which would have been worse if counter-cyclical measures had not been taken, he said.

“In the crisis, poverty did increase, but it was less than half the increase in poverty that ocurred in 1995,” expressed the head of the Treasury.

In a joint press conference with the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, Cordero emphasized that in the crisis of 1995, 15 million Mexicans joined the ranks of the poor.

During his opportunity to speak, Robert Zoellick mentioned that the World Bank estimates that worldwide 60 million people entered poverty, of which 10 million are in Latin America.

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World Bank to lend 800 million dollars to Mexico

July 21, 2010

Zoellick

AFP, 7/21/2010

The World Bank will lend 800 million dollars to Mexico to help transform public transport to reduce emissions, and other programs, the bank’s President Robert Zoellick said.

The loans include 450 million dollars for social, water and infrastructure programs, said Mexican Treasury Secretary Ernesto Cordero during a joint news conference in Mexico City on Wednesday.

Another 350 dollars, including 200 million from the Clean Technology Fund, a climate investment fund, would support the modernization of public transport across Mexico to reduce emissions and expand services, Cordero said.

Zoellick pointed to Mexico City’s widely-lauded Metrobus system of rapid buses on dedicated lanes as an example of efforts already being made toward improving the environment here.

“I think that climate change is too important to wait for one formal accord,” Zoellick said, ahead of the December UN climate summit in Cancun, which follows last year’s Copenhagen meeting seen by many as a failure.

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World Bank: Lack of Fiscal and Labor Reforms Hamper Mexico’s Development (in Spanish)

November 9, 2009

World-BankEl Economista, 11/9/09

The World Bank estimated that in Latin America, Mexico will be the country with the greatest opportunities to develope when the world economic and financial crisis ends. That is, when the country begins to reform certain sectors.

After China and India, in Asia, which positioned themselves as key players in the process of economic recuperation in the international system, in Latin America, Mexico can be an important poll of development, said the World Bank managing director, Juan Jose Daboud.

In an interview with Notimex, to his particiaption in the seventh Business Summit in Monterrey, Daboud specified that in order to become a pole of development, Mexico should address three sectors in particular: fiscal, labor with aims to generate more jobs, and intensify the fight against poverty.

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Mexico Passed Budget ‘Test,’ World Bank Official Says

November 4, 2009

World-BankBloomberg, 11/4/09

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) — Mexico passed a “big test” of political maturity by raising taxes to tame its widening deficit during a recession, the World Bank’s chief economist for Latin America said. Whether it’s enough to satisfy ratings companies, which have threatened a downgrade, remains to be seen, he said.

The watered-down version of President Felipe Calderon’s 2010 budget approved by Congress reduces a dependence on oil revenue that previous governments weren’t able to address, Augusto de la Torre said in an interview in Washington.

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Report: Reducing Emissions Growth in Emerging Economies Could Be Cheap

November 3, 2009

World-BankNew York Times, 11/3/09

How much would it cost to stop increasing greenhouse gas emissions in Mexico? According to a new study from the World Bank, not very much.

The bank estimates that Mexico could flatline its emissions growth, using a variety of measures, for about $64 billion over the next 20 years — or $3 billion annually.

That amounts to just 0.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product each year, according to the study, to keep emissions levels from rising significantly over the 659 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent released in 2008.

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World Bank Sees 10M In Latin America Joining Ranks Of Poor In ’09

September 29, 2009

World-BankWall Street Journal, 9/29/09

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–About 10 million people in Latin America “will likely join the ranks of the poor” as a result of the economic contraction, though the region is emerging stronger than others, the World Bank said in a report.

The effect of the recession on Latin America “is not trivial and will induce some reversals in social gains” made during the better part of the decade, said Augusto de la Torre, chief economist for Latin America at the World Bank.

His prepared statements were made available ahead of an address scheduled for early Tuesday in Miami.

Despite the social implications for the region, de la Torre praised monetary policymakers’ swift and aggressive moves to cut interest rates, which have helped to fight off the worst of the recession.

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Economies in Latin America are Rebounding; Mexico Lagging

September 28, 2009

Mexico cityMcClatchy, 9/28/09

LIMA, Peru; The construction industry here in Lima is booming, middle-class residents are once again snapping up new apartments in Rio de Janeiro and software companies in Santiago, Chile, are expanding.

A year after the global financial crisis exploded, most Latin American countries are putting the tough times in the rearview mirror during the final three months of 2009. Brazil, the region’s giant and the world’s ninth largest economy, is leading the way, along with such other market-friendly countries as Peru, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and Panama.

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In World Bank’s Doing Business 2010, Mexico Improves

September 14, 2009

World-BankWorld Bank Group, 9/14/09

Ranked 51st of 183 countries, Mexico’s 2010 ranking improved 4 places from 2009. The improvement is due to two key reforms: making it easier to start a business and changes to the country’s tax system.

According to the report, Singapore, New Zealand, and Hong Kong, China, are the top three easiest economies in which to do business. In general, reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean intensified, with 19 of 32 economies reforming. Colombia, Guatemala and Peru each reformed in at least 4 areas. And 3 Caribbean island states reformed for the first time—Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia.

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