The United States and Mexico recently reached an agreement pertaining to the regulation of oil and gas regulations along the two countries shared Gulf of Mexico border. If this Transboundary Agreement is put into law, the United States and Mexico would have respective rights to supervise oil and gas… activities that could affect the environment. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar explained the newly formulated agreement between the two countries, “Each of the nations will maintain sovereignty and their own regulatory systems.” He went on to state, “But what this signifies, and what may be the most significant part of the agreement, is that we’re moving forward jointly with Mexico to ensure we have a common set of safety protocols.” The agreement would also permit the Mexican oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), as well as leading oil companies in the United States, to develop oil reservoirs in cooperation with one another along the shared Gulf of Mexico border.
It’s important for the United States oil companies and Mexico’s Petróleos Mexicanos, to work together now more than ever to ensure joint environmental safety attributed to deepwater oil drilling on the Gulf of Mexico border. In addition, the agreement will allow 1.5 million acres of territory previously claimed by the United States to be available for lease starting this summer. A research fellow at the University of Texas, Jorge Piñon commented on the relationship between the United States and Mexico, “Coordination and sharing communications, training, personnel, equipment and technology are essential for safe and productive drilling.” This diplomatic allocation of resources and commitment to cooperation is instrumental to developing safe and environmentally friendly drilling practices along the border.
During her recent visit to Mexico City, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, Marta Dassù stated that Mexico is… becoming a profitable economic market for Italy. More and more Italian businesses, both big and small, are interested in investing and trading with Mexico because of favorable market conditions within the country. This is projected to fortify diplomatic relations between Mexico and Italy. At the Italian Embassy in Mexico, Dassù met with influential individuals in the entrepreneurial sector of the economy, including representatives from Enel Green Power and Ferrero. In addition, Under-Secretary Dassù recently attended the G20 Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico on February 19-20.
The G20 meeting in Los Cabos, organized by the Mexican Presidency, provided a forum for discussion on the increasing imperativeness of peaceful diplomatic relations in regards to sustainability, climate change, energy efficiency, and the importance of renewable natural resources. Furthermore, with the creation of the new Italian-Mexican Business Council, favorable diplomatic relations between the two countries is expected to continue and strengthen. Mexico and Italy are committed to working together in cooperation on many environmental, political, and economic issues.
The Mexican government has been supportive of the development of biotech crops, including corn, while recognizing the genetic diversity of native corn species.
Biotech-derived crops are still not commercially cultivated in Mexico. However, the government of Mexico has continued to grant permits to developers for experimental releases of genetically-modified corn into the environment.
According to the Bio-safety Law, it is in the best interest of biotech developers to complete the experimental stage as soon as possible to begin the pilot stage and, afterwards, the commercialization stage. Mexico has no significant trade barriers to biotech crops or foods derived from biotechnology.
Mexico was the United States’ second largest agricultural trading partner in 2009, while the United States was Mexico’s principal agricultural trading partner with nearly 80 percent of Mexico’s agricultural exports going to its northern neighbor.
In 2009, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico were valued at $13.9 billion, while U.S. imports of Mexican agricultural products were valued at a record $11.9 billion. The impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been substantial, with U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico increasing by $9.3 billion between 1994 and 2009 and Mexican agricultural exports to the United States increasing by $8.5 billion in the same time frame. Mexico is the largest market for U.S. soy-meal, sorghum, dry beans, rice, apples, beef, dairy, swine, and turkey.
The Secretariat of Agriculture approved 23,000 acres of commercial biotech cotton for 2011 and may approve up to 500,000 acres for 2012. Mexico could be self-sufficient in cotton production by 2016 and an exporter by 2020. According to Agro Bio, biotech cotton requires only 0.4 quart of insecticide per acre instead of 4.0 to 5.0 quarts of pesticide applications for non-biotech seed.
Under the Bio-safety Law and its Implementation Rules (Reglamento), three different agencies are responsible for Mexico’s biotech policies, while the Inter-Ministerial Commission on Biosecurity and Genetically Modified Organisms (CIBIOGEM) coordinates Mexico’s biotech activities.
Despite economic unrest in both Europe and the United States, foreign investors have sought alternative methods of investment in Mexico… during the first nine months of the year. During the first three quarters of 2011, Mexico’s central bank stated that a record $24.1 billion was invested in the government fixed income market. That is an increase from the previous record of $23.1 billion investment mark set last year. According to Mexican Government officials, it remains to be seen if this upward trend will continue.
Increased investment in Mexican bonds is one of several positive economic data points that demonstrate Mexico is recovering from the global recession. In September, Mexican industrial production grew 3.6 percent over the same month the previous year. Furthermore, Mexico has the lowest tax burden among the most developed economies in the world, according to a recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In its annual report, OECD detailed the tax burdens in place during 2010. The report shows that Mexico has the lowest tax to GDP ratio at 18.7 percent.
Mexico has the lowest tax burden among the most developed economies in the world, according to a recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In its annual report, OECD detailed the tax burdens in place during 2010. The report shows that Mexico has the lowest tax to GDP ratio at 18.7%. …
The majority of OECD governments have stabilized the tax burden in place with the tax to GDP ratio. It has increased from 33.8% in 2009 to 33.9% in 2010, according to the OECD data from the annual Revenue Statistics publication. However, these numbers are still down from 2008 and 2007 when the ratios were 34.6% and 35.2%, respectively.
The OECD stressed that the findings show that changes in tax revenues reflect both changes in economic activity and policy measures.
“In those European countries most affected by the financial crisis and subsequent recession there was an initial sharp fall in tax revenues, but then a small recovery in the tax to GDP ratio in 2010,” the OECD stated.
“The data collected also shows that in a period when all levels of government have seen pressure on expenditure and revenues, the average tax ratio for state, regional and local governments has remained steady since 2007 while that for central government has declined,” the OECD explained.
In June 2012, world leaders will convene in Los Cabos, Mexico to discuss measures to promote the financial stability of the world and how to achieve sustainable economic growth and development at the G-20 Summit. This meeting marks the first time in history that a Latin American country is hosting the… summit, an event that brings together top Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors every year.
The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) gathered the opinions of world experts who commented on Mexico as an emerging power and the expectations of Mexico as the summit leader including: former Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin, chief economist of the ADB Changyong Rhee, Chair of FTI Consulting Lord Malloch-Brown, and director of economic studies at Institut Francais des Relations Internationales Jacques Mistral.
CIGI chair, Jennifer Clapp, noted issues that Mexico could bring to light at the G-20 Summit, “As an emerging power and a country that’s largely agricultural, it’s probably got more credibility to deal with these issues, and the other members might be willing to go along with perhaps more bold activities to address questions like food price volatility, agricultural production, etc.”
The United States government recently announced that it is opening its trusted traveler program, Global Entry, to Mexican citizens who are visiting the… United States. Mexican travelers to the U.S. will be able to visit automated kiosks at a variety of different international airports to undergo procedures for the Global Entry program. U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne stated, “Our Customs and Border Protection agency is supporting the National Migration Institute in the development of a Global Entry program for Mexico, which we expect to be launched in the first six months of 2012.”
Under the Global Entry program, Mexican travelers will be granted entry into the United Stated “in a minimum amount of time.” However, the Global Entry program will have strict rules and measures to follow, in addition to stringent membership qualifications. Applicants to the visitation program should not have a criminal record of any kind and will need to pay a fee of $100 to apply. Automated kiosks currently exist in 20 airports within the United States. However, Wayne stated that in the next year, they will appear in Mexico City and Los Cabos, too. Mexico’s tourism secretary, Glorida Guevara, stated, “It speaks of confidence in our country, but above all it’s a great opportunity we’re being given.” This initiative is an important step in the imperative relationship between the U.S. States and Mexico. Applications can be completed at: http://www.globalentry.gov.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne and Secretary of Health Salomón Chertorivski Woldenberg met with each other to discuss issues relating to the health of their respective countries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Mexican Government hope to work together to ensure developments in the health sector of both… populations. U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne stated, “We decided to set up this meeting to being talks with the SSA (Federal Health Secretariat) on several critical matters that concern the health sector. The air of it all is to coordinate and create projects that are beneficial to Mexico and the U.S.” He also stated, “U.S. officials already have a high level of engagement with their Mexican counterparts for engaging in epidemiological research and coordinating for outbreaks of influenza or other diseases; and in the near future an epidemiologist from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will be joining the embassy to engage with SALUD on a number of critical studies and coordination projects. Our shared border and susceptibility to a range of infectious diseases underscores the importance of this continued cooperation.”
Because they share a border, the two countries often face similar health issues, including cancer, diabetes and obesity. Cooperation between Mexico and the U.S. may help in establishing a heightened sense of disease control along the border. They will also work together to address other issues including the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS, the use and establishment of safe medical equipment and pharmaceutical products, and the creation of new medical programs dedicated to the health and safety of those on both sides of the border.
In 2006, it was confirmed that breast cancer was the first cause of death among Mexican women. For this reason, 20 of the most emblematic monuments of Mexico City were illuminated with pink lights this month of October. In the context of what is referred to in Spanish as the Breast Cancer Total Care… Program, the illumination of these buildings and monuments is a symbolic reminder to Mexican women that they schedule a mammogram screening or complete a breast self test.
Mexico City’s goal for Breast Cancer Awareness 2011 is to give 50,000 free diagnostic mammograms throughout the city. An additional goal is to construct a culture of ‘self-care’ and ‘prevention’, especially when it comes to the detection and initial treatment of breast cancer, something that is also being promoted by the Mexican organization, Red Rosa (Pink Network).
Mícher Camarena, the director of the Women’s Institute in Mexico City, highlighted at the inauguration that the Breast Cancer Total Care Program has helped hundreds of thousands of women that are 40 years or older. Since the first free exam in 2007, the lives of 569 women whose mammogram results came back positive have been saved.
In an event inaugurated by the Mayor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, the most emblematic monument of the city has been illuminated pink: El Ángel de la Independencia. At the same opening event, Marcelo Ebrard reminded Mexico City inhabitants that since the beginning of his administration his goal has been to convert Mexico City’s free breast cancer tests into the most widely available in Mexico and Latin America.
List of the Mexico City monuments illuminated until November 1:
1. Ángel de la Independencia
2. Diana Cazadora
3. Torre del Caballito
4. Monumento a la Revolución
5. Monumento a la Madre
6. Alameda Central
7. Hemiciclo a Juárez
8. Santo Domingo Square
9. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Monument
10. City Theater
11. Frida Kahlo Museum
12. Torre Mayor
13. Estadio Universitario
14. Palace of Fine Arts
15. National Conservatory
16. “Santa María la Ribera” Moorish Kiosk
17. The four buildings of the Legislative Assembly
Mexican President Felipe Calderón claimed earlier in the year that Mexico had the highest rate of obese children in the world. Therefore, Mexico has recently taken certain steps in order to tackle childhood obesity. Public pre-kindergarten and elementary schools, for example, have banned junk food from… being allowed in their schools. Along with this, middle schools are now only selling sugar-free drinks and low-calorie snacks as a way to combat childhood obesity and turn Mexico into a healthier environment.
Additionally, the Mexican government has encouraged the adaptation of more hours of physical education per week in schools. Students are now required to take three hours instead of one hour per week of physical education. The Mexican government has also directed media attention towards advocating obese children to join weight-loss programs.
Other important steps that are being taken to combat childhood obesity in Mexico include: encouraging young children to drink proper amounts of water each day and monitoring their intake of soft drinks and junk food.
The influx of recyclable bags and new recycling policies in Mexico is benefiting the economy, the job sector, and the environment. The… Managing Director of Falcon Plastics de México SA de CV, Juan Antonio Hernández, stated, “Right now many people are collecting plastic bags and selling them and the price is going up.” He went on to say, “Material is expensive but there’s more of it.”
Over the past few years, Mexico has developed a number of different environmental policies to increase sustainability. For example, two years ago Mexico City tried to move towards biodegradable products over recyclable products. They also attempted to ban plastic bags temporarily.
However, today government officials have directed their attention towards recycling in Mexico and away from biodegradable practices. Today, recycling in Mexico has become commonplace. In May in Mexico City, they even passed a law making the separation of non-organic and organic waste illegal. Hernández, in an interview at Plastimagen Plásticas de México AC (Inboplast), a leading producer of plastic bags, stated, “Mexico City is always the leader and whatever happens in Mexico City is copied.”
His hope is that the rest of Mexico will follow the capital’s lead in creating a sustainable society through the practices of recycling, waste management and overall green living. The simple act of recycling has already secured jobs within the recycling business and has helped develop a more sustainable economy for Mexico.
The embassy of Mexico in Nigeria is in the process of planning an environmental seminar in conjunction with the Center for Climate Change and Environmental… Studies of Nigeria. The seminar hopes to generate a heightened sense of awareness on the environmental issues that Abuja faces today. The seminar is anticipated to spread consciousness on the front of both the Nigerian government and the general public in Nigeria. The seminar will also prepare the country, according to the Ambassador of Mexico in Nigeria, Luis Alberto Barrero Stahl, for the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Framework Convention of the United Nations on Climate Change and the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that will take place in South Africa next month.
COP-17 will emphasize the need to move towards sustainable living on a global level. The environmental seminar will address topics that include sustainability, climate change, mitigation, the distinct and imperative correlation between developing and developed countries, industrialization, and technology. The event is also supported and collaborated by a long list of impressive groups of individuals, particularly the Embassy of Malaysia, the Presidency and Ministry of Environment of the Nigerian government, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), State Governors and Legislators, the World Bank, and the High Commissions of South Africa. The conference is said to take place November 28 – December 9.
Mexico is an attractive location for many international corporations due to its low manufacturing costs and favorable regulations. The… nation’s IMMEX system plays a large role in this, and Mexican President Felipe Calderón recently extended corporate tax break incentives under IMMEX until December 31, 2012.
For those unfamiliar with the system, manufacturers and business executives in the United States, as well as in a variety of other countries, use IMMEX conditions to produce goods and export labor to Mexico, namely because of reduced manufacturing costs and lower taxes. IMMEX companies are allowed to import supplies needed for fabrication without paying a customs duty or import value-added tax. In addition, companies working under the IMMEX system pay only 20 percent of the corporate flax tax.
President Calderón expanded the program to highlight the significance of export companies and their impact on Mexico’s economy and society. The presence of international companies in Mexico has become an integral part of Mexico’s economic livelihood.
Mexico has been steering a variety of fields, including the automotive, aerospace and textile industries. Most recently, the promulgation of a constitutional reform that recognizes the right to food in the country would make Mexico a leader in hunger prevention issues. …
In the words of Olivier De Schutter, a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, “This is a great step forward for Mexico.”
De Schutter, who in June made an official visit to Mexico to speak on the subject, explained, “With this constitutional reform, Mexico joins a select group of countries around the world that have enshrined the right to food in their constitutions.”
Mr. De Schutter suggested that the reform of articles 4 and 27 of the Mexican Constitution be made, particularly in today’s context of rising food prices. “Now is the time to implement this reform for the benefit of all Mexicans by approving corresponding legislation,” he added at a UN summit in Geneva in October, after a recent UN report stated that food prices around the world are likely to continue rising and could possibly increase over the next decade.
The report, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2011, recommended that governments have ‘a transparent and predictable regulatory environment in place that promotes private investment and an increase in farm productivity.’
The need for States to guarantee access to adequate nutrition for their citizens is becoming apparent. For this reason, Mr. De Schutter, an independent expert, encouraged Mexican authorities to implement measures that give all Mexicans access to what more progressive nations are defining as a basic human right.