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Free-trade champion Mexico is on a reform drive that promises new openness in key sectors of its economy, especially energy. So what is it doing slapping protectionist measures on its shoe industry?

Fighting unfair competition from China, officials say.

The raft of new measures to protect Mexico’s industry – which makes 240m pairs of shoes a year – sounds distinctly off message, especially since President Enrique Peña Nieto has made boosting trade ties with China a priority. (He met his Chinese counterpart three times within six months to forge closer relations.) Continue reading »

Mexico has a brand new police force, the gendarmería tasked with beefing up the country’s crackdown on crime.

But according to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), it may have a powerful crime-fighting weapon already: remittances. Continue reading »

Full marks for Enrique Peña Nieto: the Mexican president’s energy reform is in the bag, so it’s full speed ahead now to cheaper energy, faster growth, higher investment and more jobs, right?

That’s the plan, and Mexico certainly looks to be on track – indeed, the government is so aware that it has not a moment to lose that with the ink barely dry on the legislation, it was already announcing what private investors could look forward to bidding for as the sector is opened up for the first time since 1938. Continue reading »

More glum news for Mexico’s economy, which has been growing at turtle speed this year. Growth in May came in below expectations – again.

According to the state statistics office, growth in May was a disappointing 1.4 per cent, below market forecasts for nearer 2 per cent. Continue reading »

After a false start this year, it’s time to rev those engines: Mexico’s dreams to return to Formula One are finally back on track.

The government has announced a five-year 2015-19 deal to host the race, marking Mexico’s return to the circuit after an absence of 23 years. Continue reading »

After what has felt like an endless waiting game, Mexico’s energy reform is finally entering the home straight.

This weekend Senate members approved key bills to govern the new-look hydrocarbons sector, as well as the energy sector and the state utility, CFE, and oil company, Pemex, that will lose their monopolies under the sweeping reform. There is just one section still to be passedContinue reading »

Investment in Mexico: it’s the real thing. Coca-Cola’s announcement that it will pour $1bn into the country every year until 2020 is just the latest in a string of recent big-ticket spends in a country where manufacturing is leading the country out of an untimely economic slump.

The US beverage maker, whose operations in Mexico include eight bottling groups in Mexico, juices and dairy as well as sodas and water, said it would invest more than $8.4bn from 2014-2020, bringing the total invested in Mexico during the decade to $12.4bn. Continue reading »

As secondary legislation to enact Mexico’s historic energy reform chugs through Congress and the clock ticks towards a December 2015 deadline for state oil company, Pemex, to be transformed into a “state productive enterprise”, a new report from the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) makes for interesting reading.

The think-tank has studied a dozen national oil companies and distilled its findings into key recommendations. Pemex, a company about to discover competition as its nearly eight-decades-old monopoly on the sector is flung open, currently hands over the bulk of its revenues to the state in the form of taxes, and will face the challenge of how to invest like a private company while still propping up the state for years to come (the government says a transition to a lower tax burden will take a decade). Continue reading »

Backed into a corner by tough new Mexican telecoms regulations, Carlos Slim’s América Móvil (AMX) has come out fighting.

Its plan to divest assets – probably unprofitable rural subscribers, as well as cellphone towers – is its opening gambit. Will it be enough?

The mettle of Mexico’s new independent telecoms regulator, the IFT, and its perpetually smiling president Gabriel Contreras, will now be put to the test.

 Continue reading »

Volkswagen Beetle at a factory in Puebla State, Mexico

Stop press: amid the ever-present rivalry between Latin America’s top two economies, Mexico has just overtaken Brazil as the region’s biggest car producer.

Mexico’s production in the first half of this year hit 1.6m – beating by a nose Brazil, where output was 1.57m.

It’s a dramatic turnaround from last year, as this graph in Mexican daily El Financiero showsContinue reading »

In the run-up to his election victory in 2012, Enrique Peña Nieto pledged to create a new 40,000-strong paramilitary gendarmerie for Mexico to help combat security problems stemming from the country’s war on drugs.

Plans for the force were whittled back to 10,000, and seemed to be eternally delayed. But next month Mexico’s new police force is finally ready for launch, albeit with a more slimmed-down starting line-up of 5,000 new officers. Continue reading »

Mexico’s historic energy reform has understandably whetted the appetites of oil companies worldwide. But, concerns are growing that Mexico’s tax terms might turn out a little too tough – potentially scaring off, rather than attracting, investors.

How so? Let’s recap: Mexico expects to offer a range of licences and profit – or production – sharing contracts to private investors in a tender next year, the terms of which may become known in late in 2014. Continue reading »

Mexico’s historic energy reform whizzed through Congress in the blink of an eye in December, when legislators rewrote parts of the Constitution to erase nearly eight decades of state control of the sector.

Passing the laws to implement the reform, by contrast, is like wading through mud. Continue reading »

By Samuel George of the Bertelsmann Foundation

When the presidents of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru meet on June 19 and 20 for the ninth Pacific Alliance summit in Nayarit, Mexico, they’ll likely debate a proposal that could transform their quietly successful pact while boosting Latin American unity.

At the urging of Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, the gathering is expected to broach the potential integration of the Alliance, which was formed among the four countries in 2012, and Mercosur, an older grouping that includes the regional heavyweights of Brazil and Argentina. The issue would represent a crossroads for the Alliance, however, since Mercosur does not generally share the enthusiasm for international trade shown by its neighbours on the Pacific coast. Continue reading »

By José Antonio Meade Kuribreña

It is mind-blowing that in the 21st century, sexual violence is still used as a tactic of war. Every year, thousands of people become victims of this heinous practice. Ninety-eight per cent of them are women and girls who are sexually abused in a spree of revenge or terror against civilian populations embedded in an armed conflict. Added to the profound pain and trauma caused to the victims, the worst part of this reality is that most cases go unpunished. This is unacceptable and we cannot continue to bear new atrocities. Continue reading »