Exclusive: As Trump trashes NAFTA, Mexico turns to Brazilian corn

02/22/2018 Reuters

cornMexican buyers imported ten times more corn from Brazil last year amid concern that NAFTA renegotiations could disrupt their U.S. supplies, according to government data and top grains merchants.

Mexico is on track to buy more Brazilian corn in 2018, which would hurt a U.S. agricultural sector already struggling with low grains prices and the rising competitive threat from South America.

U.S. farmers, food processors and grain traders have spent months trying to prevent trade relationships from falling apart if the North American Free Trade Agreement implodes. They are trying to protect more than $19 billion in sales to Mexican buyers of everything from corn and soybeans to dairy and poultry.

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Human rights groups say Mexico not investigating spyware claims

02/21/2018 Reuters

pexels-photo-534204.jpegA group of human and digital rights activists said on Tuesday that the Mexican government had failed to properly investigate allegations their smartphones were infected with spying software. They have asked for an independent investigation.

Activists, human-rights lawyers and journalists filed a complaint in June with the attorney general’s office, claiming the government had infected their phones to spy on them with software known as Pegasus, which Israeli company NSO Group allegedly sold to Mexico’s government.

“Since filing the complaint we said we did not trust the attorney general’s office would be able to investigate itself, since there is evidence it was that agency that purchased the malware,” the activist groups said in a joint statement.

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Mexico’s labor standards no obstacle to NAFTA deal: Mexican minister

02/21/2018 Reuters

taxes accounting businessTensions over Mexico’s labor standards will not prevent the signatories to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) from reaching an accord to overhaul the deal, the country’s labor minister said on Wednesday.

Negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico are due to meet in Mexico City from Feb. 25 to March 5 for the next round of talks to rework NAFTA, with several major sticking points still casting doubt over the future of the accord.

Foremost among them are U.S. demands to secure a bigger chunk of the automotive business in North America, though unions have also relentlessly attacked Mexican labor standards and pay on the grounds they undermine working conditions in the region.

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Canada, Mexico officials: trade pluses should outweigh fear

02/21/2018 The Washington Post

NAFTA_logoTEMPE, Ariz. — Senior Canadian and Mexican officials on Wednesday expressed frustration with current American skepticism about free trade, saying the benefits for all three countries should be kept in mind during the current renegotiation of NAFTA.

Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton told a gathering of business and academic leaders at Arizona State University that better messaging is needed to turn around U.S. fears so the countries can successfully rework the North American Free Trade Agreement hammered out a quarter century ago. He said all three countries must recognize that they stand to gain by lowering tariffs and other barriers to international commerce.

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Ferry blast injures passengers in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

02/21/2018 The Washington Post

Paradise Cruise Photo by Flickr user Jesus & Kristle
Photo by Flickr user Jesus & Kristle

An explosion ripped through a ferry as it unloaded passengers in the Caribbean beach city of Playa del Carmen on Wednesday, hurting as many as 25 people, but authorities said none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Initial reports on the number of victims varied. The local municipal government and the port authority both reported that 18 were injured, including 15 Mexicans and three Canadians. Local Civil Defense director Juan Medina Sosa said there were 25 injured, including three Canadians and two Americans, and all were in good condition.

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Mexico judge rules arrest of alleged cartel boss was illegal

02/21/2018 The Washington Post

Mexican Supreme CourtA judge in Mexico ruled Wednesday that this week’s arrest of an alleged top drug cartel boss in a city bordering Texas was illegal.

The Federal Judiciary Council said in a statement that prosecutors had sought to have the Feb. 19 arrest upheld, saying he was detained while speeding in an SUV in the northern city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville.

However his defense presented video recordings from security cameras at his house showing marines arriving at the residence, entering and extracting the suspect. They also showed marines removing the SUV from its parking spot inside the property.

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Mexican candidate: government erred in not going after arms

02/21/2018 ABC News

Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade attends a conference marking the International Day of Family Remittances 2017 in Mexico City
Mexican Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade attends a conference marking the International Day of Family Remittances 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Ruling-party presidential candidate Jose Antonio Meade said Wednesday the Mexican government made a mistake by focusing more on seizing drugs headed for the United States than on weapons headed into Mexico.

Meade said that if he wins the July 1 election he would focus more on inspecting vehicles coming into Mexico and better training for police.

Homicides in Mexico rose by 27 percent between 2016 and 2017. Its homicide rate was 20.5 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017, compared to 19.4 in 2011, the peak year of Mexico’s drug war. Most of those killings involved guns, many smuggled in from the United States.

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