May 31, 2019
1. United States to impose 5% tariff on all goods imported from Mexico until flow of migrants stops
U.S. President Donald Trump announced a 5% tariff on all goods imported from Mexico beginning on June 10, adding that the tariff will increase gradually if the crisis persists.
President López Obrador discussed this issue during his morning press conference assuring his government is implementing an immigration policy that respects human rights; additionally, he commented that this new tariff will not resolve the matter.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard will travel to Washington to convince the U.S. government that President Trump’s measures were in neither country’s interest, and that Mexico was making progress on containing immigration.
2. President López Obrador holds meeting with IMF Chief
Christine Lagarde, Managing Director and Chairman of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) attended a meeting with President López Obrador, and participated in a legislative session where she praised the country’s fiscal policies.
Despite the IMF’s decision to lower Mexico’s economic growth forecast last month, Christine Lagarde applauded the country’s progress on enhancing financial inclusion, encouraging mobile banking and President López Obrador’s commitment to reduce poverty and inequality during his administration. In addition, Lagarde called on the Mexican Government to fight crime and corruption to jumpstart economic growth.
3. Interpol arrests Mexican steel magnate and issues warrant for former PEMEX CEO on corruption charges
Interpol detained Alonso Ancira, an executive from Mexican steel company Altos Hornos, and issued an arrest warrant for Emilio Lozoya, the former CEO of state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). Both have been charged with corruption as Mexican authorities found irregular bank transfers from Altos Hornos to third-party offshore accounts and in Lozoya’s case, the PEMEX purchase of an overpriced and unusable fertilizer plant.
Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero assured the charges were not linked to Odebrecht. President López Obrador also addressed the issue, stating that these charges did not constitute political persecution from his government, as these cases were opened during the previous administration.
4. Mexican Central Bank lowers 2019 economic growth forecast, denies risk of recession
Mexico’s Central Bank (Banxico) lowered the country’s economic growth forecast in its most recent quarterly report to 1.3% from 1.6% as a result of the slow pace of growth during the first quarter of the current year, as well as the increase in prices of services and energy that have pushed inflation upwards.
Banxico board member Jonathan Heath denied claims that Mexico could go into recession in the near-future, stating that all production activities would have to cease for this scenario to unfold. Banxico also endorsed the anti-corruption policies proposed by the federal government to boost economic growth.
5. Mexican Senate begins ratification process for the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement
Senator Ricardo Monreal announced the beginning of the legislative process to ratify the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA). The discussions surrounding the NAFTA replacement are slated for June 18th during the Senate’s upcoming special session.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started the ratification process last Wednesday, leaving the U.S. as the only country yet to begin its legislative approval procedure. Recent reports claim President Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer are pushing for fast approval for this treaty.
Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump lifted steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexico and Canada; moreover, Mexico approved a Labor bill which was a condition from the U.S. Democratic party for their approval of the deal. Meanwhile, President López Obrador stated that the recent announcement of a new tariff on all goods imported from Mexico won’t affect the legislative process to ratify the deal.