U.S. Boosts Credit Line to Mexico in Gesture of Ties

10/17/2018 – Wall Street Journal

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Source: Edgard Garrido/Reuters

The U.S. is boosting the size of a credit line available to Mexico in times of need, part of a largely symbolic display of close ties as the countries prepare to sign a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

U.S. Treasury Department officials said Wednesday they would triple the size of a credit facility known as the exchange stabilization agreement, potentially allowing Mexico to borrow up to $9 billion, compared with $3 billion under a previous agreement when the original Nafta came into force. Mexico also has a $3 billion line with the U.S. Federal Reserve that isn’t expected to change.

The size of the credit program, which comes in the form of a temporary swap line, is small compared with Mexico’s economy. Mexico already has a so-called flexible credit line of up to $87 billion with the International Monetary Fund that hasn’t been used. Mexico has previously drawn on the Treasury credit program in the aftermath of its economic crisis known as the Tequila Crisis in the 1990s. Treasury officials say there is no current indication that emergency funding is needed in Mexico, which has $173 billion in foreign-currency reserves.

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Borderline Navigating the invisible boundary and physical barriers that define the U.S.-Mexico border

10/17/2018 – The Washington Post

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In 1989, the first fence built to stop illegal crossings from Mexico to the United States was erected in San Diego, where the border begins. From here, the border stretches for almost 2,000 miles, only 700 of which are walled or fenced. President Trump wants to change that.

San Diego

That first fence was a line of surplus helicopter landing pads, welded together. It stopped vehicles but not climbers, so a taller secondary layer came in 1996. Then came a third layer, including at Friendship Park, the one place where families not permitted to travel between the countries can gather to talk through mesh.

Nearly six miles east of Friendship Park is the port of entry at San Ysidro, which is the most heavily traveled in the Western Hemisphere; 135,000 people cross there each day.

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Record number of families crossing U.S. border as Trump threatens new crackdown

10/17/2018 – The Washington Post

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The number of migrant parents entering the United States with children has surged to record levels in the three months since President Trump ended family separations at the border, dealing the administration a deepening crisis three weeks before the midterm elections.

Border Patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September, the highest one-month total on record and an 80 percent increase from July, according to unpublished Department of Homeland Security statistics obtained by The Washington Post.

Large groups of 100 or more Central American parents and children have been crossing the Rio Grande and the deserts of Arizona to turn themselves in, and after citing a fear of return, the families are typically assigned a court date and released from custody.

“We’re getting hammered daily,” said one Border Patrol agent in South Texas who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

Trump to skip inauguration of Mexico’s president

10/03/2018 The New York Times

2970386265_26b63eb120_bMexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump informed him he won’t be coming to his Dec. 1 inauguration and will be sending Vice President Mike Pence instead.

During a telephone conversation, Lopez Obrador talked to Trump about plans for development projects in Central America and Mexico aimed at reducing the need for people to emigrate north. Lopez Obrador said Trump “reacted positively” to the discussion.

“It was a very good call,” Lopez Obrador said. “We have achieved a good understanding.”

Lopez Obrador said he proposed the U.S., Canada and Mexico join forces to generate jobs and economic development “so that Mexicans and Central Americans can find work where they were born, where their families, cultures and customs are … so that migration is a choice, not a necessity. “

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Risks behind the new NAFTA

10/3/2018 – Politico

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Image of Larry Kudlow. Source: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo.

The new trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada improves on NAFTA in many ways but presents potential risks to automakers, senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow acknowledged in an interview featured on this week’s POLITICO Money podcast.

 

“I know there is some grousing around,” Kudlow said Tuesday of concerns raised in the auto industry that the increased requirements for North American content in cars and trucks could drive up prices or force production overseas. “The cost issues, let’s look at it, I’ll say a maybe. It’s very important to the president though.”

Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, added that content and wage provisions in the auto section of the new agreement were a “must” for President Donald Trump. “We didn’t want to lose any more jobs. This was an America first deal.”

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Tariffs That Send a Political Message

10/3/2018 – New York Times

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President Trump may have been overstating things when he argued from a United Nations podium last week that the Chinese were going after American farm products to hurt his political base because “they do not want me or us to win.”

But China clearly would like to send a signal to rural American voters.
Mapping the counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and those affected by China’s tariffs shows the extent to which Trump voters’ jobs rely on the products being targeted. Beijing hopes it can convince those voters — and their elected representatives — that the president’s trade war could hurt them.
Over the summer, the Chinese took aim at Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. In his home state, Kentucky, 18,000 jobs depend on whiskey. So they put a 25 percent tariff on it. Representative Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, is from Wisconsin, a leading producer of cranberries. So cranberries were added to the list, for good measure. And China went after pork and soybeans, two of the leading farm products in Iowa, home of Charles E. Grassley, a powerful member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Trump’s USMCA delivers big wins to drugmakers, oil companies and tech firms

10/3/2018 – Washington Post

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A handful of major industries scored big wins in President Trump’s North American trade agreement — at times at the expense of ordinary consumers in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The winners include oil companies, technology firms and retailers, but chief among them are pharmaceutical companies, which gained guarantees against competition from cheaper generic drugs.

The gains underscore the benefits U.S. industry will be seeking, and the pressure it will exert, as the Trump administration continues rewriting trade deals with other countries and regions.

Lobbyists for several industries said they hoped the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, would serve as a yardstick for future U.S. trade deals, including any involving China.

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