American Tower feud ‘not positive’ for Mexico’s TV Azteca, Fitch says

08/09/18 Reuters

REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

Credit ratings agency Fitch voiced concerns on Thursday that TV Azteca’s legal battle with American Tower Corp was “not positive or favorable” for the Mexican broadcaster’s credit profile, two days after Reuters reported the lawsuit.

MATC Infraestructura, a unit of cell tower owner and operator American Tower (AMT.N), sued TV Azteca (AZTECACPO.MX) for nearly $97 million in a New York state court, saying the company has defaulted on a loan.

In an interview, Alberto Moreno, a senior director at Fitch, said the agency will likely evaluate what the case means for TV Azteca’s credit rating.

“Our sense is obviously this is not favorable or positive for the credit profile of the company,” he said. “We will continue monitoring.”


Mexico and U.S. Studying NAFTA Rules of Origin Proposals-Minister

08/06/18 New York Times

naftaMexico’s economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Monday the country has put forward a proposal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement’s contentious rules of origin, and in turn was studying the U.S. position.

The United States has demanded tougher rules of origin, particularly on what percentage of a car needs to be built in the NAFTA region to avoid tariffs than outlined in the current trade deal.

“We have a proposal on the table, we’re analyzing some characteristics of the U.S. position, and we’re doing it clearly in line with our dialogue with Mexico’s auto industry,” Guajardo told reporters after an event in Mexico City.

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Main risk facing Mexico is closing the economy-minister

07/23/2018 Reuters

Idelfonso-GuajardoThe main risk facing Mexico is that it closes its economy and allows the economic integration of the last two-and-a-half decades to unwind, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Monday.

“The biggest risk is that instead of moving forward with an agenda of opening and integration, we move backwards, closing our economy and really undoing what we’ve built in the last two and a half decades,” Guajardo told reporters in the western city of Puerto Vallarta. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Writing by Dave Graham)

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Walmex’s new e-commerce VP eyes groceries to propel online business

07/11/2018 Reuters

Photo by Flikr user elmada

Wal Mart de Mexico’s (WALMEX.MX) new e-commerce head plans to play to its strengths in grocery deliveries to help the country’s largest retailer stand apart from rivals, like Inc and his former employer MercadoLibre Inc, he said in an interview Wednesday.

Ignacio Caride, who joined the company as a vice president last week, said internet food or household orders can encourage shoppers to seek non-grocery goods from the website or mobile app of Walmex, as the company is known.

“Leveraging the food and supermarket delivery part adds a very big competitive advantage,” said Caride, who spent 13 years at online marketplace MercadoLibre. “It generates a shopping habit.”

Online and brick-and-mortar businesses alike have been boosting e-commerce investments in Mexico, pressuring retailers to stay ahead with efficient logistics, broad inventories and fast shipping.

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Hardball Trade Tactics Will Leave US Workers Battered and Bruised

6/6/2018 The Hill

By Earl Anthony Wayne, Public Policy Fellow, Mexico Institute

A long-time U.S. trade guru joked last week that as a rule of thumb, he favors trying to manage only one trade war at a time, not multiple trade conflicts at once as the U.S. is attempting.

As the danger of costly missteps and negative consequences with international partners becomes more evident, the United States needs a serious debate over the current approach and making course adjustments. The alternative could leave the U.S. trying to recoup after paying the price at home and abroad.

The U.S. has imposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum targeting nations that are long-time allies and friends in Europe and North America for “national security” reasons, rather than focusing on rival and trade bad-boy China, sparking alarms from pundits and experts from across the political spectrum.

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Trump Wants to Divide Nafta Talks Into 2 Separate Deals

06/05/2018 The New York Times 

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration added another complication to already fractious talks with Canada and Mexico on Tuesday, suggesting that President Trump now wants to negotiate separate bilateral deals with those nations rather than continue three-country discussions to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“His preference now, and he asked me to convey this, is to actually negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately,” Larry Kudlow, the White House chief economic adviser, said of the president on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning.

Mr. Kudlow said pursuing separate deals might allow an agreement to be reached “more rapidly,” adding: “I think that’s the key point. You know, Nafta has kind of dragged on.”

The comments echo previous musings by Mr. Trump and are only likely to inflame tensions with Canada and Mexico, which are already reeling from Mr. Trump’s imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs and his suggestion that tariffs on autos might come next. Relations with Canada and Mexico are more strained than at any time during the president’s tenure, and the clock has essentially run out for the administration to secure a Nafta deal this year.

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Japan auto association hopes free trade, low tariffs maintained as NAFTA renegotiated

05/18/2018 Reuters

automobileJapan’s automaking association on Friday said it hoped the country’s export partners would keep tariffs on vehicles and components low and maintain free trade relationships to promote and strengthen transparent trade.

The comments come after the United States, a major market for Japanese cars, imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and pushes for new terms for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), including boosting requirements for locally produced content of cars made in the three signatory nations where Japanese automakers have factories.

The country is also mulling tougher environmental rules for imported cars to protect U.S. automakers.

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