December 18, 2020
1. Mexico approves Pfizer-BioNTech and AztraZeneca vaccines
Mexico launched its National Vaccination Plan in December of last year, prioritizing the vaccination of frontline healthcare personnel. The vaccination plan will run through March 2022, and vaccinate 130 million Mexicans, at an estimated cost of MXN $32 billion (USD $1.6 billion).
On December 11th, the Federal Commission for the Protection of Health Risks (Cofepris) announced the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, purchasing 34.4 million doses. Moreover, Cofepris approved the AstraZeneca vaccine on January 4th, purchasing an additional 77.4 million doses. The CanSino Biologics vaccine is also pending approval by Cofepris.
2. 90% of federal representatives seek re-election; president begins tours of states holding gubernatorial elections
448 of the Chamber of Deputies’ 500 members submitted their intention to run for re-election in July. 92% of the majority party Morena’s legislators, 89% of the Institution Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) and 83% of the National Action Party’s (PAN) will seek re-election.
Additionally, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador indicated that he would begin trips to the states of Michoacán, Colima and Guerrero, states that will hold gubernatorial elections later this year. The president cited reasons of national security for his visit to the state of Michoacán, and a follow-up to an urban development program in Acapulco for his visit to Guerrero.
3. Mexico registers trade surplus with U.S.
Mexico’s exports to the U.S. outpaced imports from the U.S. between January and November 2020, recording a trade surplus to the tune of USD $102 billion. Against a backdrop characterized by the pandemic, Mexican exports decreased from March to August, but began to recover in September, driving the country’s economic recovery.
For its part, the World Bank has emphasized that the country’s economic growth will depend on exports to the United States and their economic recovery. The World Bank warned of risks such as the persistence of the pandemic and the logistics of the National Vaccination Plan. It is estimated that the growth of the national economy will be close to 1.6%.
El Financiero: Superávit comercial de México con EU registra máximo histórico de 102,761 mdd en noviembre
El Economista: Pandemia y logística de vacunación limitarían el crecimiento de México en 2021:Banco Mundial
4. Mexico decrees gradual elimination of glyphosate
On December 31st, a decree establishing the gradual replacement of the herbicide glyphosate (marketed as Roundup) in crops was published in the Official Journal. The decree cites its harmful and even carcinogenic effects on health, and seeks to replace it with sustainable alternatives by January 31, 2024.
For his part, chief director of the National Health, Safety and Agricultural Foods Quality Service (Senasica), Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga has stated that “glyphosate is not proven to be carcinogenic. It’s not a conclusive statement.” Trujillo argues that the elimination of glyphosate in the country runs the risk of its replacement with more toxic substances, such as paraquat.
El Sol de México: México tiene tres años para deshacerse del glifosato
5. Renewable energy generation will be taken out of operation
On December 28th, a nationwide failure in the electricity service affected approximately 10 million people. The state-run power company, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), has explained that this mishap was caused by low demand combined with excess wind and photovoltaic power generation.
“As a preventive measure during periods of low demand, the National Energy Control Center (Cenace) will be forced to pause intermittent renewable power generation to ensure the reliability of the national system,” stated Luis Bravo, Communication Director of the CFE. The measure implies that private power generators will also have to cut back on their annual production.