A Victim of Trump (and Fundamentals), the Peso Falls

11/14/2016 Forbes.com, Mexico Institute Blog

By Viridiana Rios, Global Fellow, Mexico Institute

pesoI write today as a middle class Mexican whose savings lost 10 percent of their value when American voters elected a leader who pledged to renegotiate NAFTA and tax us to pay for a wall. As a result of the election and other factors, the Mexican peso has overtaken the Argentine peso and the South African Rand to become the emerging markets 2016 worst performer.

The Mexican Peso was a barometer for the presidential campaign. It lost 10 percent of its value when Clinton lost, 1.9 percent in the week after the FBI reignited Clinton’s email controversy, and hit its historical low in the days following the election as speculation turned to the potential impact of Trump’s first months in office. The peso spiked 1.3 percent in less than an hour during the first presidential debate, and when Trump’s lewd conversation about women broke, it gained 2.2 percent.

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North America Must Compete Globally

6/28/2016 Forbes

By Earl Anthony Wayne and Gary Hufbauer

NAFTAContrary to campaign rhetoric, the integration of North America over the past quarter century has successfully grown the continental economy and enabled it to compete in global markets. And, in North America this has been done without the centralized institutions that UK voters just rejected. The June 29 North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa offers an opportunity to launch even smarter collaboration across Canada, Mexico, and the United States that respects the sovereignty of each partner. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and President Enrique Peña Nieto can approve a range of actions to make the North American economy more competitive and productive in the years ahead.

North American trade networks and continental investment ties have generated millions of jobs. North America is the best performing continent among advanced countries. But it still needs to create more and better jobs. Economic growth is too slow and productivity is far below par. An ambitious work agenda coming from the Leaders’ Summit can help boost the three economies.

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Op-Ed | Getting North America Right

5/9/2016 Mexico Institute blog, Forbes.com

By Earl Anthony Wayne, Public Policy Fellow, Wilson Center

nafta (2)When the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States meet on June 29 for a North American Leaders Summit (NALS), they will have two big tasks: 1) to explain clearly why cooperation between the three countries is of great value; and 2) to give clear directions to their officials to do the hard technical work so that cooperation produces solid results for economic growth and competitiveness, for mutual security, for the shared continental environment, and for international cooperation where we can do more together than individually.

Since Mexico hosted the last so-called “Three Amigos” Summit in 2014, the tone in the U.S. domestic political debate has turned very critical of cooperation across the continent, whereas the actual collaboration and mutual understanding between the governments has improved.  The potential to help make all three countries more competitive in the world and to become a model for regional cooperation has increased, even as the electoral campaign attacks on the relationship with the United States’ two top export markets sharpened starkly.

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Priorities for Mexico’s New U.S. Ambassador

4/14/2016 Forbes

By Duncan Wood and Viridiana Rios

forbesMexico has named their new ambassador to the United States, Carlos Manuel Sada Solana. The priority of the new ambassador is clear: to represent Mexico in a more constructive and positive manner, especially to the American people and the U.S. Congress, and to identify the Representatives and Senators that can have an influence on shaping such a positive image. This will be important not only in the context of this year’s presidential election, but also for the long-term health of the bilateral relationship.

The principal task of Ambassador Carlos Sada Solana should not be to respond in a direct manner to the current anti-Mexico discourse that is rampant during this electoral period, but rather to address this rhetoric in a strategic fashion. The importance of Mexico’s relationship with the United States should be emphasized along with the significant achievements that Mexico has had in recent years. This includes American endorsement of the reforms, the creation of the High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED or DEAN in Spanish), the development of intelligence cooperation, as well as bilateral efforts in energy, climate change, organized crime, and migration.

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Depressed Energy Prices Cause Decline in U.S.-Mexico Trade


2/23/2016 Forbes.com

By Christopher Wilson, Deputy Director, Mexico Institute

forbesFrom 2009-2014, U.S.-Mexico trade skyrocketed. Bilateral trade grew 75%, faster than U.S. trade with any other major trading partner, including China (61%), and importantly, both imports and exports were growing rapidly. In 2015, trade growth came to a screeching halt, though strong fundamentals suggest this may be more of a temporary blip than a new trajectory.

The Census Bureau recently released U.S. merchandise trade statistics for 2015, and though Mexico is still the United States’ second largest export market and third largest overall trading partner, for the first time since the economic crisis of 2008-2009, U.S.-Mexico trade declined from the previous year’s level. Interestingly, as shown in the graph below, U.S.-Canada trade dropped sharply in 2015, allowing China to become the United States’ top trading partner. In 2014, the two countries traded $534.3 billion, but in 2015 that number fell to $531.1, a decline of some $3.2 billion dollars. U.S. imports from Mexico basically held steady, growing from $294.1 to $294.7 billion, although this apparent stagnation masks multiple underlying trends. Exports, on the other hand, dropped some $3.8 billion. This brief analysis examines recent trends in bilateral trade and their implications for the future of U.S. and Mexican economies.

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Carlos Slim Praises Mexican Telecom Reform Despite Challenge To His Number One Billionaire Status

carlos slimForbes, 3/18/2013

Tycoon Carlos Slim, who is in danger of losing his title as the world’s richest man,  praised the new monopoly-busting telecom legislation proposed by the Mexican government despite the fact that it has significantly reduced his net worth.

“This telecommunications law addresses the importance of broadband and of having more penetration…   Therefore, without a doubt,  it coincides with everything this commission has sought: universal service, better prices, higher speeds and convergence,”  Slim said  following the  inauguration of the Seventh meeting of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development in Mexico City March 17.  It was the first time Slim personally addressed the bill since it was proposed on March 11.

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Weekly News Summary: March 8th

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

At its national assembly last Saturday, PRI members voted to end the party’s opposition to constitutional changes that would allow increased private participation in the oil sector, and reversed their previous position on the application of value added tax (IVA) to food and medicine. Leaders of the three main political parties continued to work on a “game-changing” telecommunications reform that is expected to shake up a highly monopolized sector of the Mexican economy. The Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer addressed the recent optimism surrounding the Mexican economy, pointing out that many Mexicans remain skeptical. TIME’s Tim Padgett echoed the sentiment, drawing a parallel between current headlines labeling Mexico “the New China” or “the Aztec Tiger” and similar hype preceding Mexico’s 1994 peso crisis.

Following the excitement of last week’s arrest of Elba Esther Gordillo, journalists began focusing more closely on Peña Nieto’s education reform and the much-needed changes to the country’s lagging public education system. Carlos Slim topped the Forbes billionaire rankings for a fourth consecutive year, while drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was left out. The Christian Science Monitor reported Slim’s large share over the telecommunications sector has kept broadband connection costs high, and internet connectivity rates low, compared to the rest of Latin America. Also this week, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled two common anti-gay words constitute hate speech and are not protected under freedom of expression.

Continue reading “Weekly News Summary: March 8th”