May 17, 2019
1. Petróleos Mexicanos signs a deal to refinance its debt
Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the state-owned petroleum company, signed a financing deal with JPMorgan Chase & Co., HSBC Holdings Plc and Mizuho Financial Group Inc., to obtain USD $2.5 billion to refinance its current debt and additional USD $5.5 billion to replace credit lines.
President López Obrador thanked the banks for “showing confidence in Mexico and the government” after the Federal Government had been previously criticized for a plan to build a USD $8 billion refinery in Tabasco.
2. President López Obrador enacts education bill
President López Obrador has enacted the education bill in the Official Gazette of the Federation, after it was sent to and approved by 22 state legislatures.
The main issues that the reform addresses include: guaranteeing a large budget for all public education from elementary through college; the creation of a national strategy to improve normal schools; and a greater degree of admission, promotion, and acknowledgment of teaching staff.
México Evalúa, an education rights organization, declared that the impact of the bill in the federal budget was not taken into account, especially a 6.25% salary hike for basic education teachers and support staff.
3. Mexico and U.S. to close a deal ending steel and aluminum tariffs
Last year, the United States government imposed duties on steel and aluminum imports from several countries including Mexico. The country answered by imposing taxes on other products imported from its neighbor to the north.
Soon after, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed, but the tariffs remained untouched. Nonetheless, Jesús Seade, Undersecretary for North America in the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, says the imposed tariffs may be lifted shortly as both countries are currently in talks.
4. Federal Government to return forfeited money and goods through new government agency
President López Obrador announced the creation of a new government agency that will return forfeited money and goods obtained from organized crime and corruption, to the Mexican people. The agency will be called the Institute to Return What’s Stolen to the People.
According to the president, this government entity is planning to give back MXN $1.5 billion (USD $78.4 million) in 2019. Fighting corruption and organized crime were some of President López Obrador’s major commitments when he took office. At the moment, the government holds auctions for goods such as luxury cars forfeited by the Secretary of Finance.
5. Mexico City, among other states, face air pollution alert
Over the past few days, Mexico City, among other states, have faced critical issues regarding the environment, wildfires and budget cuts for forest protection, leading to air pollution alerts and an increase in the local temperature.
The Environmental Commission of the Megalopolis (CAME), composed of the governors of Mexico City, State of Mexico, Hidalgo, Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala, have been heavily criticized by their lack of a strategy to solve this issue. Furthermore, the appointment of the new head of CAME had been delayed since February.