Mexico’s ‘El Bronco’ Jaime Rodríguez Bucks at Incentives for Car Plant

5/17/2016 The Wall Street Journal

KIAPESQUERÍA, Mexico—The new governor of a northern Mexican state is balking at the tax breaks, land grants and other public perks that have underwritten the country’s automotive boom of recent years.

Nuevo León Gov. Jaime Rodríguez, whose nickname El Bronco plays on his headstrong style, and his aides are refusing to honor a large portion of the incentives promised by the previous state government to woo a $2.5 billion new assembly plant by South Korea’s Kia Motors.

“We aren’t against foreign investment,” Mr. Rodríguez said. “We are against a previous government that exceeded the limits.”

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Mexico: political risk on the rise

5/16/2016 Financial Times

9085212846_3cb274caea_bSweeping, radical, audacious. Those are all good descriptions of the structural reforms enacted by the Mexican government over the past three years. Failure, unfortunately, is another.

Economic growth, rather than accelerating back to 4 per cent and more annually, has stumbled along at barely over 2 per cent. The stock market has flatlined, while the peso has steadily lost ground, and not only against the dollar.

All this has turned international investors from enthusiastic backers of President Enrique Peña Nieto and his programme of energy, telecom, media and fiscal reforms into critics who are dumping their Mexican assets.

Yet fund managers are not nearly as negative as the president’s own compatriots.

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Don’t call it mezcal: Mexico forces artisanal producers to use a new name

5/10/2016 The Guardian

9386766538_b04baaa54b_mMiguel Ángel Partida pours an early morning slug of mezcal into a hollowed-out bull’s horn, and watches bubbles form around the rim. From the way they rise, he estimates his homemade liquor has 50% alcohol.

“If it doesn’t do this, it’s not mezcal. It’s another alcoholic beverage,” he says at his home in Mexico’s western Jalisco state.

Partida and his family have made mezcal for five generations, enduring the Mexican revolution, the Cristero rebellion and various attempts by governments – and the tequila industry – to rein in renegade mezcaleros. They even survived losing the legal right to use the name “mezcal” and are obliged to sell theirs as “agavate distillates”.

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Not in Our Backyard: Developers Hit Wall in Ritzy Mexico City Neighborhood

5/10/2016 Wall Street Journal

6142323949_5d5f048f77_mMEXICO CITY—Developers in one of the Mexican capital’s most affluent neighborhoods are facing stiff opposition to new commercial projects from residents who fear they will further strain the city’s outmoded infrastructure.

The neighborhood, Lomas de Chapultepec, is in the center of a debate over the merits and perils of densification.

In car-choked Mexico City, public transportation is spotty and outdated, while pollution prompted authorities last month to ban at least 20% of all cars from the roads every weekday in an effort to reduce unhealthy levels of smog. Other essential resources, like water, are strained as well.

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U.S. anti-trade shift would hit world economy: Mexico’s Guajardo

5/2/2016 Reuters

us mex flagThe more protectionist trade policy being pushed by U.S. presidential candidates could lead America to renege on global trade agreements and deal a blow to the world economy, Mexico’s economy minister said on Monday.

While not naming candidates, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo referred to a proposal by Republican front runner Donald Trump to levy a 35-percent tariff on many Mexican goods, which Guajardo said would violate World Trade Organization agreements and spark chaos if enacted.

“[It] will mean that you are willing to depart and break with the world trading system,” Guajardo told Reuters in an interview.

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Soda Sales in Mexico Rise Despite Tax

5/3/2016 The Wall Street Journal

226338682_3aa20e7b5e_m.jpgSales of soda are climbing two years after Mexico imposed a roughly 10% tax on sugary drinks—a bright spot for an industry that has feared it could be cast as the next tobacco.

Mexico’s tax was an attempt to cap alarming obesity and diabetes rates in a country where per-capita soda consumption is the highest in the world. It came at a time when then Mayor Michael Bloombergwas trying to limit sales of the beverages in New York City, and more countries are weighing a similar tax.

Purchases, however, are rising in Mexico after an initial drop, making the country a key-growth market again for soda giants Coca-Cola Co.and PepsiCo Inc. Underscoring the resiliency of sugary drinks, the tax of one peso per liter has raised more than $2 billion since January 2014, about a third more than the government expected.

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Meet Mexico’s New Innovators

George W. Bush Institute

The two friends, Jaime Rodas and Roberto Hidalgo, inseparable since high school, live in an apartment-turned innovation pad on the edge of a leafy neighborhood in Mexico City. They contribute to Mexico’s big tech inventions, like building websites for social causes that include teaching the public how to hold government accountable.

“People don’t even know who represents them,” Jaime tells me as he walks me through the apartment, with rooms turned into workspaces, laboratories for experiments. “They have no clue who their representatives are, or even what they’re supposed to do, like be their voice.”

The new narrative

Jaime and Roberto, ages 27 and 29, represent a new face of Mexico. They work out of their apartment, which they share with Roberto’s elderly miniature Schnauzer, Dharma. They are part of a generation of young, high-tech millennials, a group that is quietly expanding into an important global force of innovators. Already there are some 600,000 high-tech professionals in Mexico, and about 115,000 engineering and tech students graduate each year – a vast talent pool in the making.

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Take a look at the tool mentioned in the article that helps Mexicans find out who they are represented by and how to contact them!