New Publication | A Mandate for Mexico

June 29, 2015

By Lucy Conger

mandate for mexicoIt was not so long ago that Mexico teetered on the brink of bankruptcy following a short-lived oil boom and a wild run of government spending. And, until quite recently, Mexico, despite sharing a 2,000-mile border with the United States, kept foreign goods out and gave domestic industries nearly exclusive access to a country-sized captive market.

Free trade has made Mexico a powerful manufacturing platform, a top global automobile assembler, and has radically diversified the economy, sharply reducing dependence on oil exports. The paradigm shift that unfettered Mexico’s protected and closed economy has been highly successful in creating a stable economic and policy environment and in making Mexico a marketfriendly global super-trader. But formidable challenges remain. Economic growth has slowed and consistently falls short of the level needed to create enough jobs to absorb the expanding domestic labor force.

Mexico is at a critical juncture. The record shows that the first wave of reforms that began 30 years ago failed to deliver the desired boost to economic growth and competitiveness. The reforms now underway promise even bigger changes for the economy, particularly by opening up the long closed petroleum industry. Looking ahead, can the new wave of reforms move Mexico into a higher gear, stimulate increases in productivity and economic growth, lubricate the economy with more credit, establish and enforce genuine competition in strategic sectors, and train the work force in modern skills? Or, three decades hence will we look back and say the Peña Nieto reforms were inadequately implemented and Mexico remains a low-growth, low-productivity economy?

This is a timely moment for reviewing Mexico’s success with deep economic reforms and asking what is required from here on in to make the new wave of reforms successful so that Mexico and Mexicans can enjoy the benefits of higher growth and productivity. This study offers a qualitative analysis of the deep economic reforms undertaken in Mexico during the past 30 years, the progress made and informed opinions on what is needed today to boost economic growth, enhance competitiveness and, hopefully, increase employment. The study summarizes the views about the successes and failures of the first wave of reforms as seen by a select group of former cabinet members and other prominent policy makers, consultants to government, opinion shapers in policy centers, and thought leaders in academia.

Download the report here.


Mexico’s Justice System At A Crossroads

June 29, 2015

06/29/15 Forbes

Aflag StarrGazrs an emerging market, Mexico has tremendous appeal. Its huge volume of trade with the United States, combined recent reforms in the telecommunications and energy sectors, means opportunities abound for savvy investors. But severe challenges remain. Pervasive corruption adds layers of risk to any business venture. Corruption has also hamstrung the nation’s justice system—and which many observers blame for Mexico’s intractable security challenges.

To date, reform efforts have languished. A series of constitutional and legislative reforms passed in 2008 sought to overhaul the justice system and root out corruption, but they have yet to be fully implemented. The 2008 reforms set a 2016 deadline for defining new criminal procedures and new duties for law enforcement and public agencies. Last year the government cleared an important hurdle with the passage of a unified criminal code, but much more work remains. With little less than a year to go, the fate of justice reform in Mexico appears quite uncertain.

Read more…


Mexico Corporate Security 2015 Forum To Bring Together Senior Security Representatives

June 25, 2015

6/24/15 US Source Security

security_lockMexico is currently undergoing major reforms to the energy, telecommunications, education, and financial sectors and the Government is opening the door to $50 billion of international investment by 2018 in the wake of these reforms, but this boost in the economy is menaced by serious security risks. Companies wanting to benefit from the huge investment opportunities offered by Mexico must ensure their corporate security is thoroughly evaluated, planned and executed.

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Upcoming Event! Advancing Justice Sector Reform in Mexico

June 23, 2015

justice - gavel and bookWHEN: Friday, June 26, 9:30-11:00am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s deadline to fully implement new, adversarial criminal trial procedures is less than one year away. The government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has pushed strongly to comply with the constitutionally mandated shift to the new criminal justice system by June 18, 2015, particularly in light of the country’s ongoing security challenges. Together with the University of San Diego’s Justice in Mexico program, the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will host a panel discussion to examine current efforts to implement the new reforms. The discussion will include a presentation of recent survey data on the views of judges, prosecutors, attorneys, and police, as well as insights from a delegation of visiting law professors attorneys from Mexico’s National Autonomous University as part of the Oral Advocacy Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) funded by the Mérida Initiative. This program will be conducted in English and Spanish.

Speakers:

“Justice in Mexico: The Road Traveled and the Road Ahead”
David Shirk, Global Fellow, Mexico Institute; Professor, University of San Diego

“Progress Report: Judicial Reform Implementation in Mexico”
Octavio Rodriguez, Esq., Coordinator, Justice in Mexico, University of San Diego

“La preparación de la próxima generación de abogados en México”
Leoba Castañeda, Dean, Law School, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

“Algunos retos para el nuevo sistema penal”
Alberto Del Castillo Del Valle, Professor, Law School, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Comments:

Daniel Schneider, Professor, School of International Service, American University

Click here to RSVP.


Three Keys to Understand the 2015 Budget Debate in Mexico

December 10, 2014

By Christopher Wilson and Pedro Valenzuela

mexican pesosEach fall, Mexico’s Congress debates the adminstration’s budget proposal. It was sent to Congress by the Peña Nieto administration in September, and a final version must be passed no later than the end of October to authorize revenue streams and by November 15 to detail expenditures. This is the first budget debate since Mexico’s 2013 fiscal reform was implemented, offering an important opportunity to analyze the impact of the tax policy changes on public income, and consequently, also on expenditures. The administration’s proposal represents a real increase of 1.2%, which, according to the government, will provide the funds to implement the structural reforms and fund new infrastructure and social programs. As a result of the increased spending and a dip in petroleum revenue, the government will continue to run a deficit, and Mexico’s public debt will continue to grow. Each of these three issues—tax collection, public expenditure, and the national debt—are explored in this article, all in context of Mexico’s structural reforms and brightening yet somewhat volatile economic prospects.

At the time of publication, the revenue proposal, which must be passed by both houses of congress, had been approved by the Chamber of Deputies and was in committee in the Senate. The Senate is expected to move the bill to the floor and approve the final version during the last week of October. The Chamber of Deputies made moderate changes to the executive proposal, including an increase in the expected exchange rate from 13 to 13.4 pesos per U.S. dollar and a drop in the expected reference price for oil from $82 to $81 dollars per barrel. After the ley de ingresos, or revenue law, is passed, attention will turn to the ley de egresos, the budget of expenditures, which only needs to be approved by simple majority in the lower house.

Read the article here.

This article was also published on Forbes.com. A shorter, Spanish version of this article is also available.


Op-Ed: Mexico’s security crisis and the role of the private sector

November 4, 2014

11/03/14 Financial Times

protests by Edu-TouristMexico has had several years of bad news on the security front. After decades of peace, the tide changed dramatically in about 2007. History will determine whether conditions at the time justified a decision of such magnitude; the reality is that the launching of an all-out war against drug cartels in that year sparked an upsurge in violence, murder and insecurity not seen since the post-Revolution years of the 1920s. The deterioration was, in many instances, concentrated in specific regions or states. But it also generated incidents that speak of a much more profound problem concerning the roots, scope and dimension of the criminal gangs and cartels. In particular, the incidents of September 26 in Iguala, Guerrero, when several people were killed and wounded and 43 students were kidnapped and remain missing, have brought worldwide visibility to the issues and put a cloud over the perceived success of structural reforms that were passed in many areas this year (including education, energy, telecommunications, antitrust and electoral reforms).

Read More…


Missing students and murders eclipse reforms push in Mexico

October 14, 2014

10/10/14 Reuters

Enrique Pena NietoFor nearly two years, President Enrique Pena Nieto has sought to direct the Mexican public’s gaze onto his efforts to open the economy and away from the brutal gang violence that blighted his predecessor’s government. But shocking abuses by security forces are overshadowing his economic reforms and threaten to ruin his efforts to recast Mexico as a country of progress and promise for investors. Two recent atrocities and a brace of political murders have torn the veneer of calm Pena Nieto had carefully built around his economic agenda since he took office in December 2012.

Read More…


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