Mexico’s top trade negotiator doubled down on threats to break off talks to rework Nafta, saying his country will walk away if the U.S. insists on slapping duties or quotas on any products from south of the border.
“The moment that they say, ‘We’re going to put a 20 percent tariff on cars, I
get up from the table,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in an interview. “Bye-bye.”
This doesn’t mean, Guajardo emphasized, that Mexico would be looking to scrap Nafta. But by saying it refuses to even discuss the kind of tariffs President Donald Trump has long trumpeted, the country is ratcheting up the pressure on U.S. negotiators and effectively daring them to pull out of the 23-year-old pact.
Trump has lambasted the accord — which also includes Canada — as unfair and responsible for a “massive” imbalance favoring Mexico. It last year shipped $294 billion worth of goods north while the U.S. sent $231 billion south.
Mexican officials have said they expect official talks to start in June.
Palm Beach Post – The two workers live 1,800 miles and a border apart — one in Ohio and one in Ciudad Juarez – and have never met. But their stories embody the massive economic shift that has accompanied the rise of free trade.
WSJ – Mexico ran up a trade deficit of $3.29 billion in January, similar to the year-ago gap as oil prices rose from a year before, pushing up both exports and imports of petroleum. About 80% of Mexico’s exports go to the U.S.
LAT – Many analysts agree that in at least one sector — energy — the two countries still share opportunities for financial gain and have less incentive for conflict. Even if some terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement change, they say, energy can remain a boon for both countries’ economies, along with that of Canada.
CSMonitor – Mexico estimates that some 40,000 young people who lived undocumented in the US may move back in the next several years. Many face enormous obstacles in trying to transfer educational credits that are crucial to establishing a foothold in Mexico.
VOA – Scientists have found living organisms trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old. The organisms were found in a hot, but beautiful cave system in Naica, Mexico. If the findings are confirmed, they will show how microbes can survive in extreme conditions.
Insight Crime -Mexico’s violence-induced forced displacement crisis is only beginning. Almost a third of the country’s municipalities have fewer inhabitants than they did before homicides became widespread across the country.
During the course of the last decade, population rates began to decrease in 691 Mexican municipalities, 28 percent of the country’s total.
Although the municipalities affected are scattered all across the country, most of them are found in three major regions located in the areas most affected by the conflict between different criminal organizations: first, the northwest and west controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel; secondly, the northeast, controlled by the Zetas; and third, the southeast, in the states dominated by the Familia Michoacana and the Knights Templar.
The Hill – While Trump’s effect on Mexico’s economy has been decidedly negative — JPMorgan cut its 2017 GDP growth estimate from 1.8 percent to 1.3 percent — the country has rallied around opposition to Trump and the defense of its migrants in the United States.
China Economic Review – Average wages in China’s manufacturing sector have soared above those in countries such as Brazil and Mexico. Average hourly wages in China’s manufacturing sector trebled between 2005 and 2016 to $3.60, according to Euromonitor, while during the same period manufacturing wages fell from $2.90 an hour to $2.70 in Brazil, from $2.20 to $2.10 in Mexico, and from $4.30 to $3.60 in South Africa.
In the first year of a big soda tax in Mexico, sales of sugary drinks fell. In the second year, they fell further, according to new research.
The finding represents the best evidence to date of how sizable taxes on sugary drinks, increasingly favored by large American cities, may influence consumer behavior. The results could have consequences for public health.
Mexico’s soda tax took effect in 2014, and applied to all beverages that included added sugar, including carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and sweetened iced teas. The effort was pushed by public health advocates who argued that liquid sugar was contributing to the country’s high burden of obesity and diabetes.
Studies on the first year of the tax found that sugary beverage consumption fell substantially, with the biggest decreases among low-income Mexicans — the group at highest risk of obesity-related diseases. But industry analysts and anti-tax advocates had argued that the one-year results could just be a blip that would reverse as companies retooled their products, or as consumers adjusted to higher prices for their favorite drinks.
The new study, published online Wednesday in Health Affairs, shows that the results of such a tax may be far more long-lasting. The research, based on shopping data from a large sample of urban Mexican households, showed that the first year’s consumption declines continued during the second year.
VoA – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly met Thursday with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and members of his cabinet, in what is expected to be the first in a series of high-level meetings focusing on drug trafficking, trade and immigration.
The two key members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet were hoping to soothe concern and anger about the new U.S. administration’s policies toward Mexico.
Reuters – Mexico reacted with anger on Wednesday to what one official called “hostile” new U.S. immigration guidelines hours before senior Trump administration envoys began arriving in Mexico City for talks on the volatile issue.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security unveiled plans to consider almost all illegal immigrants subject to deportation, and will seek to send many of them to Mexico if they entered the United States from there, regardless of nationality.
UPI – While Mexicans share a deep dislike of U.S. President Donald Trump, they are not fond of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto either. His 17 percent approval ratings are the lowest recorded for a Mexican president.
LAT – A Mexican man who had just been deported from the United States is believed to have leaped to his death from a bridge near the Tijuana-San Diego border crossing. The prosecutor’s office in Baja California said the death of Guadalupe Olives Valencia, 44, is being investigated as a suicide.
JTA – Three Israeli single fathers whose babies were born in Mexico to surrogate mothers cannot fly their children to the Jewish state because local authorities are refusing to issue birth certificates.
BBC – Official figures from Mexico show that the number of homicides was higher by a third in January compared to the same month of 2016. Authorities believe the spike in violence is linked to the extradition of the drug lord, Joaquin Guzman, known as “El Chapo.”