WSJ – The U.S. International Trade Commission has upheld an agreement that suspended duties on sugar imports from Mexico, a decision that Mexico’s Economy Ministry welcomed as positive for Mexican producers.
Truckinginfo -The value of freight moved between the U.S. and its North America neighbors increased 4.5 percent in 2014 compared to a year earlier, while over the longer term trucking has some lost market share to other transportation modes. The overall value of freight on all modes totaled $1.2 trillion.
EFE – Brazil and Mexico signed a protocol in Montevideo under which they agree to liberalize trade in a large number of segments of the automotive industry.
By Dudley Althaus and William Boston / Wall Street Journal
A barren patch in the rugged hills along the Tennessee River is a sign of how Mexico has accelerated past the U.S. South in the global competition for auto investment.
The tract of cleared woodland lies alongside a factory Volkswagen set out to build in 2008. But four years later, when Audi decided to move global production of its Q5 SUV to North America, the prize went to Mexico.
“Mexico had more than 40 different free-trade agreements,” said Rupert Stadler, Audi’s chief executive. The pacts give exporters from Mexico duty-free access to markets that contain 60% of the world’s economic output.
While the bulk of Mexico’s auto exports go to the U.S. and Canada, its partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement, auto makers increasingly are turning to Mexico as a platform for selling world-wide.
Reuters – Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex could double crude exports to South Korea to 10 million barrels by the end of the year, the head of the company’s trading arm said.
Economic Times – Indian refineries have consistently reduced imports from traditional markets like Saudi Arabia and Iran and have stepped up purchases from other geographies such as Mexico, Iraq and Venezuela while building inventories, as crude prices remain weak due to lower demand.
KFSM – At least 40 countries, including Mexico and China, have banned Arkansas turkeys after bird flu was found in a commercial flock in Boone County.
Sentido Comun – Mexico’s Senate ratified with 67 votes the free trade agreement between Mexico and Panama to enhance trade between the two nations.
WSJ – Brazil and Mexico they renewed vehicle quotas for four years, delaying the implementation of a free-trade agreement between the two countries.
The countries had allowed free trade in vehicles from mid-2011 to early 2012, then switched to the quota system after Brazil complained that the strengthening of the Brazilian real over the previous decade had made its cars uncompetitive abroad.
Reuters – Mexico is willing to extend an auto export quota pact with Brazil for up to two more years provided restrictions are eased when the current agreement ends at midnight on March 18, an official familiar with the talks said on Monday.
Reuters – A meeting aimed at sealing a Pacific trade deal has been called for April, Mexico’s economy minister said, adding he was hopeful it would be finalized in the next few months.
Produce News – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a new rule that would amend regulations “to allow the importation of fresh Hass avocado fruit into the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico from all of Mexico.
Informador – The illegal importation of shoes fell 45 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, after measures implemented last September to favor the domestic industry. Average monthly imports fell from seven million pairs from Asia to about 4 million.
Reuters – Brazil will seek to reduce the dollar amount of vehicles that Mexico sells duty-free to the South American nation, two sources familiar with the matter said, raising tensions in upcoming trade negotiations between Latin America’s largest economies.
Reuters – A deal to set limits on sugar imports to the United States from Mexico would squeeze U.S. sugar refiners, refiners said on Thursday, while sugar growers from both countries said the deal should stand.
By Richard Marosi / Los Angeles Times
The Mexican government and Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, have announced steps to improve the lives of the nation’s farmworkers, two months after a Los Angeles Times investigation detailed labor abuses at Mexican agribusinesses that supply major U.S. supermarket chains and restaurants.
Mexico’s secretary of agriculture, Enrique Martinez y Martinez, announced the creation Thursday of a “historic” alliance of produce industry groups that will focus on enforcing wage laws and improving housing, schools and healthcare for the more than 1 million laborers at export farms.
The group represents growers and distributors that handle 90 percent of Mexico’s produce exports to the United States, which have tripled over the last decade and now exceed $7.5 billion a year.
Separately, Wal-Mart said it is taking action to ensure that workers are treated with “respect and dignity,” reminding its in-house buyers that they should buy produce only from farms that meet the company’s standards for decent treatment of workers.
Reuters – Grappling with tumbling auto sales and weak economic growth, Brazil wants to renew an auto quota pact with Mexico that is set to expire in March, a move that could stoke trade tensions.
Auto trade between the two was then supposed to be fully liberalized, but Brazilian officials are now looking to extend the pact to avoid unlimited competition from Mexico.
The Economic Times – Mexico plans to resume iron ore exports from the port of Lazaro Cardenas in western Mexico, where the Knights Templar drug cartel allegedly had been illegally shipping the ore to China.
The Yucatan Times – Mexico and the United Kingdom committed to a goal of doubling bilateral commerce to $7 billion and increasing the number of British visitors to Mexico to 500,000.
A record 266,424 automobiles were produced in Mexico in January, up 6.8 percent from the same month in 2014, the Mexican Automotive Industry Association, or AMIA, said.
The growth in automobile output “was bolstered by the plants that started operations last year” in Mexico, the AMIA said in a statement.
A total of 103,697 light vehicles were sold last month, a figure that was up 21.3 percent from January 2014.
The automotive industry in January experienced “the best level in history for exports of light vehicles in one month, exporting 204,907 vehicles, with 15.2 percent growth,” the AMIA said.
Exports to Asia and Canada grew strongly, rising 35.8 percent, compared to the 2014 figures for both regions.
Sales to Europe and the United States grew 15.3 percent and 13.7 percent, respectively, while exports to Latin America and Africa fell 25.5 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively.