Headlines from Mexico


1.  On Wednesday, November 15, 2017 the fifth round of the NAFTA renegotiation talks began in Mexico City. Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, announced that Mexico will respond to U.S. proposals related to the automobile sector and establishing a sunset clause. The Secretary of Economy stated that all parties may reach an agreement on chapters that pertain to telecommunications and anti-corruption at the end of the fifth round. This round will conclude on November 21st.

Read more: Reforma, Excelsior, El Universal, Milenio

2.  Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto formally enacted the General Law on Disappearances that was approved by the Mexican Congress last October. This new law creates the National Person Search System and the National Registry of Missing and Non-Localized Persons. The families of missing persons believe that this system and registry will serve as additional tools to combat the impunity in Mexico.

Read more: Reforma, ExcelsiorEl Universal, Jornada

3. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto met with Uruguay’s President, Tabaré Vázquez Rosas, in Mexico City on November 14, 2017. Peña Nieto and Vázquez Rosas committed to strengthen and enrich all areas of the bilateral relationship. The Office of the Mexican Presidency stated that the overall trade balance between Mexico and Uruguay amounts to USD$170 million.

Read more: Reforma, Excelsior, El Universal, Milenio

4. Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Videgaray, met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow on November 17, 2017. Videgaray and Lavrov rejected all claims that Russia has the intention to meddle in the 2018 Mexican presidential election. The foreign ministers agreed to boost bilateral trade and investment in coordination with the business sector in both countries.

Read more: El Universal, Reforma, Milenio, El Economista


Ongoing NAFTA talks could lead to ‘devastating’ economic fallout, ex-commerce secretary says

11/16/2017 CNBC 

Image result for carlos gutierrezThis expert says there is a ‘real risk; that NAFTA talks could fail  

The United States’ opaque approach to negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement could well lead to a “devastating” collapse of the treaty, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez told CNBC.

Trade representatives from the U.S., Canada and Mexico meet this week for the fifth round of NAFTA talks. However, the ongoing discussions belie an increasingly bleak future for the trade agreement, said Gutierrez, who is also the chair of strategic advisory Albright Stonebridge Group.

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Which States Would Be Hit Hardest by Withdrawing from NAFTA?

11/17/2017 U.S. Chamber of Commerce

flag pictureImagine the scene: The U.S. unemployment rate is climbing. Crops in the heartland are rotting. Manufacturers are moving abroad. Consumer prices are rising.

That’s the picture painted by Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in his recent column in The Wall Street Journal examining the increasingly precarious state of play in the effort to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

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Mexico 2018: It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

11/16/2017 Americas Quarterly

mexican flagEmerging media consensus is that Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) will likely name Treasury Secretary José Antonio Meade as its candidate for president in 2018. Such a move would serve the unpopular ruling party on two fronts: it would muffle inherent opposition to the PRI as an institution (Meade is not a party member), and it would give them an ideal standard-bearer to carry forward their economic message (Meade has been treasury secretary for two parties and is highly regarded by the country’s business elite).

On this second front, the PRI has a decent case to make. The economy is stable, structural reforms seem to be bearing fruit and, NAFTA aside, there are no major storm clouds on the horizon. Will this be enough to shift voters’ focus next July? Unfortunately for the PRI, the answer is probably not. The race for Mexico’s presidency in 2018 looks to be about two things: crime and corruption. Or, put more simply, impunity.

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Mexico Accelerates Fuel Opening to Jump-Start Investment

11/16/2017 Bloomberg

oil wellMexico is speeding up a countrywide liberalization of fuel prices by a month in a bid to kick-start lagging private investment.

Mexico’s energy regulatory commission, CRE, approved on Thursday bringing forward an end to government-set pump prices in the southeastern zone comprised of Campeche, Quintana Roo and the Yucatan, known as region five, to Nov. 30 from Dec. 30. Mexico will freely float prices by Nov. 30 in the rest of the country.

The move “sends a strong signal to the market” that Mexico welcomes new players in the sector formerly dominated by state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, said Roberto Diaz de Leon, president of Onexpo, Mexico’s gasoline retailers association, speaking at an event in Mexico City.

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NAFTA talks resume Friday with tariff-free auto parts on the table

11/16/2017 Dallas News 

automobileMEXICO CITY — Officials for Canada, Mexico and the United States will renew talks here Friday, amid a cloud of uncertainty  and animosity that hangs over negotiations to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

As the talks drag on, now expected to continue through March, the possibility of any real gains are likely to become even slimmer as elections loom for the three countries, particularly Mexico, which holds presidential elections in July. Crucial midterm congressional elections are in November in the U.S. NAFTA could muddy the campaign waters even more, experts say.

“The window of opportunity is fast closing in,” said Tony Payan, director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute, which hosted a top Mexican delegation this week headed by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray. “Even if Mexico makes important concessions, President Trump may not contain himself and declare victory by walking away from NAFTA, and that will put Mexico in a very difficult spot because for Trump to win, others have to lose. Mexico is in a real pickle. Elections are at stake here.”

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Mexico’s Pemex to Revamp Gas Stations as Competition Steps Up

11/15/2017 The Wall Street Journal 

5337912858_1b19aea036_mMEXICO CITY—State oil company Petróleos Mexicanos, facing competition in the retail fuel market for the first time since its foundation eight decades ago, is revamping its network of franchised service stations and will use its advantages to offer competitive prices, officials said Wednesday.

“The energy reform has changed the situation in the energy sector,” Pemex Chief Executive José Antonio González Anaya told a gathering of several thousand owners and operators of Pemex brand service stations. “We’re no longer the only ones, so we need to renovate ourselves.”

Mexico changed its energy laws in 2013, allowing private and foreign investment in exploration and production, refining and distribution for the first time since the 1938 oil industry expropriation, and has successfully auctioned dozens of oil blocks. The energy overhaul also lifted the foreign ownership restriction on service stations, and allowed for brands other than Pemex.

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