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.

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.

Read the paper…

 

Mexico Got More Money from Remittances Than from Oil Revenues in 2015

3/3/2016 NBC News

energy - oil_rigMexico’s central bank reported Mexicans overseas sent nearly $24.8 billion home in 2015, overtaking oil revenues for the first time as a source of foreign income.

Remittances were up 4.75 percent from 2014 when they totaled $23.6 billion, the Bank of Mexico said. They had never before surpassed petroleum since the Bank of Mexico began tracking them in 1995.

Analysts pointed to slumping global prices for oil, which earned Mexico $23.4 billion in 2015, and improved economic conditions in the United States, home to more than 11 million Mexicans and the source of nearly all Mexico’s remittances.

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North America needs to pivot…to North America

1/29/2016 The Globe and Mail

north americaBy Michael Kergin, Arturo Sarukhan and Anthony Wayne

The authors are former Canadian ambassador to the United States, former Mexican ambassador to the United States and former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, respectively.

The foreign ministers of North America will meet in Quebec City on Friday morning with little fanfare. Yet, at a time of growing global disorder and uncertainty, North America is the strategic foundation from which the three countries secure their prosperity and safety.

About $2.7-million in trade passes between the United States and its two neighbours each minute. Mexico and Canada are the two largest U.S. export markets, buying a third of all that Americans send abroad. Millions of jobs depend on the trade and investment networks across our region, and the potential for added growth is enormous. A recent study by McKinsey & Co. predicts that if we keep working to improve the competitiveness of our North American market, our economies could add $8-trillion (U.S.) in gross domestic product by 2040.

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Publication | The Impact of Crime and Violence on Economic Sector Diversity

By Viridiana Rios, Mexico Institute Global Fellow
December 21, 2015, Harvard University

Abstract:

Literature has focused attention on identifying whether crime and violence impact growth via changes in economic factor accumulation, i.e. reducing labor supply or increasing capital costs. Yet, much little is known as to how crime and violence may affect how economic factors are allocated. Using a unique dataset created with a text-analysis algorithm of web content, this paper traces a decade of economic activity at the subnational level to show that increases in criminal presence and violent crime reduce economic diversification, increase sector concentration, and diminish economic complexity. An increase of 9.8% in the number of criminal organizations is enough to eliminate one economic sector. Similar effects can be felt if homicides rates increase by more than 22.5%, or if gang-related violence increases by 5.4%. By addressing the impact that crime has on the diversification of production factors, this paper takes current literature one step forward: It goes from exploring the effects of crime in the demand/supply of production factors, to analyzing its effects on economic composition.

Download the paper here.

Keynote Speech: Opportunities and Challenges for Mexico Today

10/29/2015 The International Trade Journal

By Diana Villiers Negroponte

Abstract

Since its pre-colonial history, Mexico has demonstrated two contrary tendencies: the outward-looking, global trader and the protective, nationalist instinct. Today, the seven major constitutional reforms of the PRI government reflect the former. However, the teacher’s union, some presidential advisors, and the criminal justice system reflect a preference for the latter. The more progressive sectors of Mexican society assert the need to participate in the global economy, but latent protective and nationalist tendencies throw up challenges. This article examines several contemporary examples of each tendency and demonstrates how they coexist uneasily in modern Mexico.

This article was published by our Advisory Board Member Diana Villiers Negroponte in the International Trade Journal (Volume 29, Issue 5, 2015). Click here to read the full article

 

No Keystone, No Problem: TransCanada Turns to Mexico Expansion

oil pipeline150Bloomberg Business 11/17/2015

Days after the U.S. spurned TransCanada Corp.’s proposal to expand its Keystone pipeline network across North America, Mexico opened its arms.

TransCanada won the rights last week for its sixth pipeline in Mexico, one of the company’s key targets for growth. The Nov. 10 decision came four days after the U.S. denied TransCanada’s bid to build its Keystone XL oil sands project across the border into Nebraska where it would connect to existing pipes leading to Gulf Coast refineries.

Mexico’s need for foreign investment to help the nation improve its infrastructure is a welcome opportunity for TransCanada after losing its seven-year battle to complete Keystone XL. The Canadian company, which owns both pipelines and power plants, plans to invest more than $3 billion in the country by 2017, said Robert Jones, President of Mexico operations.

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