Andres Oppenheimer: Obama’s TPP may reshape world trade

2/6/2016 Miami Herald

The formal signing last week of the world’s biggest trade and investment agreement — the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP — went almost unnoticed in most countries, but it could soon start to change the world’s economic and political maps.

One of the reasons why the 12-country trade agreement’s Thursday signing ceremony in New Zealand drew little world attention was that neither President Barack Obama nor other leaders of participating countries attended the event, and chose to send their trade ministers instead…

…“The TPP does not aim to create divisions within Latin America, although it will accentuate the contrast between TPP member countries’ pursuit of export-oriented growth strategies, and the more closed economic models of countries such as Brazil and Venezuela,” says Christopher Wilson, of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Mexico Institute.

Mexico’s Next Big Chance to Tackle Corruption

2/8/2016 Americas Quarterly

By Viridiana Rios, Mexico Institute Global Fellow

Empowered by a political reform that was approved in 2014, Mexico’s top civil society groups, academics and activists gathered last Tuesday in a press conference to present a bill that would establish clear penalties for acts of corruption.

This citizen’s initiative, known as Ley 3de3, could be discussed in Congress as early as this spring, if its proponents can gather the 120,000 signatures required for Congress to include it in the legislative agenda. As Max Kaiser, one of the leaders of the bill’s drafting committee and anticorruption director at the Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad, argues, “presenting the bill is just a first step…the most important battle will be to collect the signatures.”

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Ford to More Than Double Mexico Production Capacity in 2018

2000px-Ford_Motor_Company_Logo.svg2/8/2016 The Wall Street Journal

Ford Motor Co. will build a new assembly plant in Mexico and sharply increase factory output from that country, representing the latest shift of investment abroad by a Detroit auto maker following the signing of a costly new labor deal.

The No. 2 light-vehicle seller in the U.S. plans to add 500,000 units of annual Mexican capacity starting in 2018, more than double what it built in 2015, according to people briefed on the plan. The plan mirrors General Motors Co.’s $5 billion investment to double Mexican capacity by 2018.

Ford will build a new assembly complex in San Luis Potosí, and expand an existing factory near Mexico City. The moves will make room for several models, including a yet-to-be-disclosed hybrid vehicle that is described as a Toyota “Prius fighter,” and will allow Ford to focus its U.S. factories on higher-profit trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

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Mexico’s oil industry now has an organized crime problem

energy - oil_rig2/6/2016 Business Insider

Mexican oil prices fell after a brief rally earlier this week, slipping to $24.47 a barrel on Tuesday and prolonging the slide of one of the country’s most lucrative exports.

In addition to the continuing downstream pain — or the brutally low prices oil is being sold for on the market — Mexico’s oil industry is dealing with a severe theft problem preventing an increasing amount of its production from ever getting to market.

Pipeline theft in Mexico rose 52% in 2015 according to an Associated Press report, a spike that comes after a 43.7% annual increase recorded in 2014.

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Engagement and Pragmatism: Towards an Enduring Canadian Strategy in Latin America

Paper by Eric Miller, Canadian Global Affairs Institute Fellow
Canadian Global Affairs Institute, January 2016

canada mexicoExecutive Summary

With a majority government and a different world view than his predecessor, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is re-making Canada’s foreign policy priorities and approaches. This paper offers some suggested approaches for engagement with Latin America. In the area of trade, the paper recommends seeking associate membership in the Pacific Alliance while continuing to strengthen linkages with Mexico within the North American commercial policy framework. It also suggests exploring the scope of what is possible with countries with which Canada does not have free trade agreements, especially Brazil and Ecuador. On the security front, the paper suggests that Canada needs a strategy for the Colombian peace process and to step up support to Mexico in strengthening the integrity of the southern border of North America. With regards to foreign policy, Canada needs a serious strategy for the new Cuba and needs to expand its diplomatic representation, namely in Paraguay and Bolivia. Finally, on the institution-building front Canada needs to secure senior positions at the Inter-American Development Bank and Organization of American States in order to help to drive institutional reform. Canada further needs a coherent strategy to attract in-bound foreign investment from Latin America. The region is rich with possibilities and a coherent engagement strategy can deliver much.

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The “bridge to nowhere” now connects the United States and Mexico

2/4/2016 Mexico Institute via

By Christopher Wilson and E. Anthony Wayne

On February 4, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and U.S. Secretaries of Homeland Security and Commerce are scheduled to inaugurate the new border crossing just south of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Once called the “bridge to nowhere” because the U.S. half was completed before the Mexican portion was built, the international bridge and port of entry facilities at Tornillo-Guadalupe will now help manage the massive legal flows of goods and people across our border.  Over $1 million dollars of trade per minute crosses our common border and an estimated 950,000 people legally cross the border each day to study, visit family members, do business and go shopping.

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Mexico’s $2.7 Billion Homebuilder Nightmare Fades as IPOs Surge

2/4/2016 Bloomberg Business

drawing bar chartMexico’s homebuilding business is staging a comeback less than three years after the industry’s biggest companies saddled investors with losses from collapsing share prices and $2.7 billion in bond defaults.

Builders are dominating the new issuance market, with Corpovael SAB and Servicios Corporativos Javer SAB selling shares since early December and a third company seeking to raise money later this year. They’re among the competitors that rushed to fill the gap left by the largest three builders, which were forced to downsize following their failures in 2013.

Pent-up demand for new homes hasn’t gone away since housing policy changes by President Enrique Pena Nieto helped lead to the collapse of Urbi Desarrollos Urbanos SAB, Desarrolladora Homex SAB and Corp. Geo SAB. While Homex and Geo resumed trading last quarter following restructurings and Urbi moves to conclude a deal, it’s the smaller companies that are driving a resurgence in an industry that until recently was given up for dead by foreign investors.

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