Here’s Mexico’s plan to gain leverage with Trump

Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto arrived for a press conference at Los Pinos. (Henry Romero/Reuters)
Donald Trump and Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto arrived for a press conference at Los Pinos. (Henry Romero/Reuters)

By Dave Graham / Reuters

Mexico aims to defend free trade with the United States by using border security and immigration policy to gain leverage in talks with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump after he takes office next month, senior officials say.

To defuse Trump’s threats to disrupt trade and investment, policymakers say Mexico aims to strike a balance between hearing out his concerns over illegal immigration and U.S. jobs, and adopting a firm posture to protect its own economic interests.

Mexico wants security, immigration and management of the U.S.-Mexican border to be on the table alongside trade when it sits down to talk to the Trump administration, a person familiar with the government’s thinking said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

That could translate into Mexico offering to reinforce its northern border to curb drug smuggling and migrants, said one former high-level official familiar with discussions in Mexico.

After Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, Mexico needs to keep the discussion with Washington as broad as possible, said Victor Giorgana, a congressman in President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

“It can’t just be about one issue, as that would put us at a disadvantage,” said Giorgana, who chairs the lower house foreign relations committee.

Export-Import Bank gives funds to Mexico despite accidents

The Guardian – Fires, explosions and collapsing offshore rigs have cost the lives of more than 190 workers at facilities run by Mexico’s state-owned oil company since 2009. Yet American taxpayers have backed loans to the company worth more than $8.5 billion during the Obama years, through an obscure agency which has quietly spoiled the president’s record on climate change.

Russia safety directive grounds some Interjet flights

AP – Interjet says it’s had to cancel some flights due to a mandatory safety inspection of its Russian-made Superjet 100 aircraft. Russian authorities issued the directive on Dec. 23 after cracks were found in a part on one of the Sukhoi planes. Interjet is among the largest customers for the relatively new Superjet, with more than 20 in its fleet.

Mexico to delay Round 2 shallow-water auctions

Offshore Magazine – Mexico will delay until June 19, 2017, the announcement of winners for the next phase of its oil and gas, the so-called Round Two tender, which includes 15 shallow-water areas in the Gulf of Mexico. The delay is designed to allow more companies to take part and to incorporate modifications suggested by industry.

Violence continues during Christmas holiday

AP – Western Mexico’s plague of violence continued with the discovery of six decapitated heads in one state and the killing of seven people in another.  Six heads were found on Christmas Day in Jiquilpan. Meanwhile state security officials in Guerrero said gunmen entered a house and shot seven people dead in the municipality of Atoyac de Alvarez.

US-Canada-Mexico World Cup a possibility

Channel News Asia – Football officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico are likely to meet next year to discuss a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup. FIFA confirmed that co-hosting would be allowed at the 2026 tournament and that there would be no restrictions on the number of countries in a given bid.

President Pena Nieto vows to rebuild Tultepec fireworks market

The market had contained up to 300 tons of fireworks, Mexican media reported.
The market had contained up to 300 tons of fireworks, Mexican media reported.


Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto has promised to rebuild an open-air fireworks market destroyed by a series of huge explosions on Tuesday.

Pena Nieto said he had made a commitment to help 300 artisans who had stalls at the San Pablito fireworks market and had lost their livelihoods.

The disaster in the city of Tultepec has killed 35 people and injured another 70.

The market has been burned to the ground three times in the past decade.

“We made a commitment to support everyone, the 300 stall owners of that market to recover and support them so that they can continue their activities next year normally,” said Pena Nieto during a visit to survivors in hospital.

The cause of Tuesday’s explosions is yet not clear.

Loosening of Mexico gas prices draws heat

WSJ – Mexico is moving to end eight decades of government-controlled gasoline prices, a step that will lead to a big jump in prices at the pump and could prompt a backlash against the government’s efforts to liberalize the country’s energy market. Price controls for gasoline will be scrapped in late March in parts of the country that border the U.S., where motorists are more accustomed to competition among gasoline stations, regulators said.

U.S. refiners cash in on Mexico fuel imports

Reuters – U.S. Gulf Coast refiners are cashing in on rising fuel demand from Mexico, shipping record volumes to a southern neighbor that has failed to expand its refining network to supply a fast-growing economy.

The fuel trade could top a million barrels per day (bpd) at times in 2017 as Mexico becomes increasingly dependent on the United States for strategic energy supplies and providing business worth more than $15 billion a year to refiners such as Valero, Marathon Petroleum and Citgo Petroleum.

Carlos Fuentes: Mexico’s mestizo master

WSJ – For a few years in the 1980s, American critics had their hatchets out for the Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes. A leading figure of the Latin American literary boom, Fuentes (1928-2012) had steadily risen in prominence with cerebral, kaleidoscopic novels such as “The Death of Artemio Cruz” (1962) and “Terra Nostra” (1975). In 1985, he had a surprise best seller north of the border, “The Old Gringo,” about Ambrose Bierce’s final days among Pancho Villa’s revolutionary army. The novel’s success brought him to the attention of the American commentariat, and he began giving interviews and writing op-eds arguing against U.S. meddling in Latin America. 

Mexico braces for Trump assault on Nafta

Financial Times – Despite a good few weeks for Mexico — a successful oil auction; a $1.3bn investment by retailer Walmart; and a bond issue from state oil company Pemex that was six times oversubscribed — a dark, Donald Trump-shaped cloud is looming.

The US president-elect has vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta, that has turned its neighbour into a car, computer, TV and aerospace manufacturing powerhouse. The threat is a crackdown on reshoring to cheap destinations such as Mexico by slapping a 35 per cent tariff on goods imported back into the US by companies that shift jobs or plants abroad.

While Trump has dropped talk of scrapping Nafta outright, Latin America’s second-biggest economy is bracing for uncomfortable changes to a 22-year-old status quo that has transformed it into the US’s second largest trade partner behind China.

UN panel urges Mexico pass law on torture

Fox News – The head of a United Nations delegation investigating torture in Mexico says diverse definitions of the practice continue creating loopholes that lead to impunity. In a Thursday statement from the U.N. Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture, delegation leader Felipe Villavicencio urged Mexico to pass a proposed general law on torture. The legislation passed the Mexican Senate in April, but awaits a vote in the lower chamber.

Experts scour site of deadly Mexico fireworks market blaze

The vast majority of the market's 300 stalls were completely destroyed by the explosions.
The vast majority of the market’s 300 stalls were completely destroyed by the explosions.

By Noe Torres / Reuters

Teams of forensic investigators pored over the charred remains of fireworks market outside Mexico City on Wednesday after a series of blasts a day earlier killed at least 31 people and injured dozens more in a disaster marked by disbelief and tears.

Videos of the blasts at the San Pablito market showed a spectacular flurry of pyrotechnics exploding high into the sky, like rockets in a war zone, as a massive plume of charcoal-gray smoke billowed out from the site.

It was the third time in just over a decade that explosions struck the popular marketplace in Tultepec, home to the country’s best-known fireworks shopping and located about 20 miles (32 km) north of Mexico City in the adjacent State of Mexico.

Eruviel Avila, the state’s governor, said the explosions injured at least 72 people while another 53 remained missing.

“Everything was destroyed, it was very ugly and many bodies were thrown all over the place, including a lot of children. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said 24-year-old housewife Angelica Avila as tears ran down her face.

The federal attorney general’s office opened an investigation, saying in a statement late on Tuesday that six separate blasts kicked off the destruction.