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Profiting from the wall: The battle to build Donald Trump’s wall

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 15:44
Print section Print Rubric:  Construction firms eye up the wall planned for America’s border with Mexico Print Headline:  Profiting from the wall Print Fly Title:  The construction business UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Amazon’s empire Fly Title:  Profiting from the wall Location:  NEW YORK Main image:  20170325_WBD001_0.jpg FEW slogans were chanted with as much passion by Donald Trump’s supporters in the presidential campaign as “Build that wall!”. The construction industry is almost as enthusiastic. Last week America’s Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) issued two invitations for companies to bid to build the wall on the border with Mexico, which is expected to cost anywhere between $12bn and $25bn. The deadline for designs falls on March 29th. One request is for a solid ...
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Andrés Manuel López Obrador: Mexico’s populist would-be president

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 03/16/2017 - 15:55
Print section Print Rubric:  A fiery populist could become the next president Print Headline:  Mexico City, we have a problem Print Fly Title:  Andrés Manuel López Obrador UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  The global economy enjoys a synchronised upswing Fly Title:  Andrés Manuel López Obrador Location:  JILOTEPEC Main image:  20170318_AMP001_0.jpg WHEN Andrés Manuel López Obrador winds up a stump speech in the main square of Jilotepec, a small town in the eastern state of Veracruz, the crowd surges forward. It takes him 15 minutes to pass through the commotion of backslapping, selfies and jabbing microphones to reach the car parked outside the tent where he spoke. The point of the rally is to promote Mr López Obrador’s party, Morena, in municipal elections to be held in Veracruz in ...
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Tasting menu: Highlights from the March 4th 2017 edition, in audio

The Economist on Mexico - Fri, 03/03/2017 - 17:19
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Tasting menu Byline:  Economist.com Main image:  20170304_mma905.jpg Published:  20170303 Source:  Online extra Enabled
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The backhander bus: Using tourism to teach Mexicans about corruption

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 15:56
Print section Print Rubric:  Using tourism to educate people about a big problem Print Headline:  The backhander bus Print Fly Title:  Corruption in Mexico UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  France’s next revolution Fly Title:  The backhander bus Location:  MEXICO CITY Main image:  20170304_AMD002_0.jpg THE Estela de Luz (“stele of light”) is not one of Mexico City’s glories. The 104-metre (341-foot) tower, built from panels of quartz, was supposed to celebrate the bicentennial of Mexico’s independence from Spain in 2010. But it was inaugurated in 2012, 16 months later than planned, and cost 1.3bn pesos ($100m) to build, more than treble its original budget. The federal government paid the bill. Eight former officials involved in the tower’s construction were arrested after its ...
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Exit strategies: Removing unauthorised immigrants is difficult and expensive

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 15:56
Print section Print Rubric:  Removing unauthorised immigrants is difficult and expensive. But rich countries are trying ever harder Print Headline:  Exit strategies Print Fly Title:  Deportation UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  France’s next revolution Fly Title:  Exit strategies Location:  ADELANTO, BERLIN AND LONDON Main image:  20170304_IRP003_0.jpg TEARS stream down Arturo’s cheeks and onto his red jumpsuit as he imagines being deported to Mexico. Deep grooves line his face, a map of the hardships he has experienced since coming to America illegally three decades ago, aged 14. He got mixed up in a bad crowd and was convicted of six armed robberies. After 14 years in jail he was moved to the Adelanto immigration detention facility in the Californian desert, where he has spent the ...
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Lies, damned lies and ...: The sanctity of trade statistics

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 15:44
Print section Print Rubric:  Bilateral trade flow data are misleading. But a reported tweak will not help Print Headline:  Lies, damned lies and… Print Fly Title:  Trade statistics UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Wind and solar power are disrupting electricity systems Fly Title:  Lies, damned lies and ... MIGHT Donald Trump’s promise to shake up America’s trade policy extend to its statistics? According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, discussions are afoot on changing the way trade figures are tallied. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, the country’s main statistical body, calls this “completely inaccurate”. But in trade as elsewhere, the new administration seems prone to using statistics as a drunk uses a lamppost—for support rather than illumination. The proposal reportedly involves stripping out some of America’s exports from the gross numbers. America sold $1.5trn of goods abroad in 2016, but of that $0.2trn ...
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Bello: The costs of Latin American crime

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 15:44
Print section Print Rubric:  Many Latin American governments are failing in their most basic task Print Headline:  Stop the carnage Print Fly Title:  Bello UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Wind and solar power are disrupting electricity systems Fly Title:  Bello THIS month police in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo went on strike for ten days, during which 143 people were murdered and all hell broke loose in Vitória, the state capital. In Reynosa, on Mexico’s border with the United States, two alleged robbers were beaten, bound with duct tape and dangled from a footbridge, with a message from a drug baron pinned to them. On February 17th a gunman killed five people and injured nine at a shopping centre in Lima. A day later in Flores Costa Cuca, a small town in western Guatemala, an 83-year-old woman and her disabled grandson were murdered, prompting calls for the army to patrol the streets. A casual scan of ...
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Lexington: The view from a midwestern county that relies on free trade, but loves Donald Trump

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 15:44
Print section Print Rubric:  The view from a midwestern county that relies on free trade, but loves Donald Trump Print Headline:  NAFTA on notice Print Fly Title:  Lexington UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Gene editing, clones and the science of making babies Fly Title:  Lexington Main image:  20170218_usd000.jpg FOR too long American workers have been ignored, President Donald Trump declared on February 13th, as he promised to “tweak” trade relations with Canada and to transform an “extremely unfair” relationship with Mexico. Flanked by the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, Mr Trump made plain that he stands by a campaign pledge to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a 23-year-old pact underpinning trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States. Demonising NAFTA helped Mr Trump to the presidency. But in reality millions ...
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Reproductive technologies: Gene editing, clones and the science of making babies

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 09:33
Print section Print Rubric:  Ways of making babies without sex are multiplying. History suggests that they should be embraced Print Headline:  Sex and science Print Fly Title:  Reproductive technologies UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Gene editing, clones and the science of making babies Fly Title:  Reproductive technologies Main image:  20170218_LDD001_0.jpg IT USED to be so simple. Girl met boy. Gametes were transferred through plumbing optimised by millions of years of evolution. Then, nine months later, part of that plumbing presented the finished product to the world. Now things are becoming a lot more complicated. A report published on February 14th by America’s National Academy of Sciences gives qualified support to research into gene-editing techniques so precise that genetic diseases like haemophilia and sickle-cell anaemia can be fixed before ...
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Spirit rising: Investors flock to buy a piece of Mexico’s leading tequila-maker

The Economist on Mexico - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 17:58
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Spirit rising Location:  Mexico City OVER the course of more than 200 years in the tequila business, Jose Cuervo will have been responsible for a fair few moments of giddy pleasure. Last week, it got one of its own thanks to a successful initial public offering (IPO). It was eight times oversubscribed and raised 18.6bn pesos ($920m) in exchange for 15% of the company. Jose Cuervo, which is based in the western state of Jalisco, is one of the country’s best-known brands, and has been run by the same family for 11 generations. It dominates the Mexican tequila industry; sales in 2015 came to 18.5bn pesos. It also holds an assured place in the history of mixology: the original margarita cocktails were purportedly made with Jose Cuervo tequila. Long considered a candidate for flotation, it eventually published a prospectus in September 2016. The IPO was delayed, though, seemingly to allow the company to take stock of the impact of Donald Trump’s election victory in November. Since then the peso has dropped over 10% against the dollar, and Mr Trump’s desire to rework, even ...
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Dying to defend the planet: Why Latin America is the deadliest place for environmentalists

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 15:40
Print section Print Rubric:  Why Latin America is the deadliest place for environmentalists Print Headline:  Dying to defend the planet Print Fly Title:  Green activism UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Donald Trump seeks a grand bargain with Vladimir Putin Fly Title:  Dying to defend the planet Main image:  Fallen friend of the forest Fallen friend of the forest ISIDRO BALDENEGRO LÓPEZ, a farmer and a leader of the indigenous Tarahumara people, had spent much of his life campaigning against illegal logging in the Sierra Madre region of northern Mexico. On January 15th he was shot dead. His father died in the same way, for defending the same cause, 30 years before. Defending nature is a dangerous occupation, especially in Latin America. According to a recent report by Global Witness, an NGO, 185 environmental activists were murdered worldwide in ...
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Reshape or shatter?: The pitfalls of renegotiating NAFTA

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 15:40
Print section Print Rubric:  A renegotiation of the North American trade deal will not give Donald Trump what he wants Print Headline:  Reshape or shatter? Print Fly Title:  NAFTA UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Donald Trump seeks a grand bargain with Vladimir Putin Fly Title:  Reshape or shatter? Location:  OTTAWA AND MEXICO CITY Main image:  20170211_AMP003_0.jpg DONALD TRUMP called the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada the “worst trade deal ever approved in this country”. Soon it will become clearer what he intends to do about it. He has three choices: tear it up, bully the United States’ partners into making concessions that merely damage the agreement or go for a renegotiation that benefits all three.  The process for making big changes to ...
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Daily chart: Which American producers would suffer from ending NAFTA?

The Economist on Mexico - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 16:49
Main image:  MEXICO sells America more goods than America sells Mexico, and it enrages President Donald Trump. His solution is to rewrite the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which allows goods to flow across the Rio Grande free of tariffs. America sends almost $240bn in goods to Mexico every year. Were NAFTA to collapse, many Americans would pay a price—and not just as consumers. Which American producers would suffer?Suppose, optimistically, that each side followed the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Then, tariffs would revert to WTO rates. By matching these tariffs to trade flows for about 5,000 goods, The Economist has estimated which states’ exporters would be worst-affected by the levies.Farm states face the highest charges. Whacking tariffs on malt, potatoes and dairy products would cause Idaho’s exports to Mexico to incur an average levy of nearly 15%. Some products would be particularly badly hit. In 2015 Iowa’s farmers shipped $132m of high-fructose corn syrup to Mexico. Without NAFTA, Mexico would slap a tooth-aching 100% tariff on the stuff.Yet farm states are lucky to have plenty of customers elsewhere. Idaho’s exports to Mexico are worth less than half a percent of its GDP. Other state economies are more tangled up with Mexico’s. These places should worry about ...
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Politics this week

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 15:47
Print section Print Headline:  Politics this week UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  An insurgent in the White House Main image:  20170204_wwp002_290.jpg America’s refugee policy was thrown into turmoil by Donald Trump’s executive order to halt all refugee admissions for four months and ban Syrian refugees indefinitely. In addition, all citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were stopped from entering the United States for three months. The directive, issued without any input from the federal agencies that have to implement it, caused confusion in America and abroad, trapping people at airports. An almighty constitutional battle looms. Jeff Sessions was approved as attorney-general by the relevant committee in the Senate. Mr Trump had earlier sacked the interim attorney-general, who was appointed as a stopgap until Mr Sessions could take office, after she told lawyers at the Justice Department not to defend the refugee ban. In another controversial move Mr Trump gave Stephen Bannon, his senior political strategist, a seat on the ...
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Free exchange: In defence of NAFTA

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 15:47
Print section Print Rubric:  Understanding NAFTA, a disappointing but under-appreciated trade deal Print Headline:  Better than a wall Print Fly Title:  Free exchange UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  An insurgent in the White House Fly Title:  Free exchange THE North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has long been a populist punchbag. In the American presidential campaign of 1992, Ross Perot—an oddball Texas billionaire and independent candidate—claimed to hear a “giant sucking sound” as Mexico prepared to hoover up American jobs. Since its enactment, right-wing conspiracy theorists have speculated that NAFTA is merely a first step towards “North American Union”, and the swapping of the almighty dollar for the “amero”. Donald Trump, who plans to renegotiate (or scrap) the deal, mined a rich vein of anti-NAFTA sentiment during his campaign, calling it “the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country”. Even ...
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Playing chicken: Farmers and Texans would lose most from barriers to trade with Mexico

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 15:47
Print section Print Rubric:  Farmers and Texans would lose most from barriers to trade with Mexico Print Headline:  Playing chicken Print Fly Title:  Trade with Mexico UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  An insurgent in the White House Fly Title:  Playing chicken Location:  WASHINGTON, DC Main image:  20170204_usp505.jpg MEXICO sells America more goods than America sells Mexico, and it enrages President Donald Trump. In 2015 the difference was $58 billion (0.3% of GDP). That is enough, thinks Mr Trump, to justify rewriting the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which allows goods to flow across the Rio Grande free of tariffs. Yet the trade deficit masks bigger figures: America sends almost $240bn in goods to Mexico every year. Were NAFTA to disappear in a ...
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Worldwide watching: Many American allies are troubled, and threatened, by Donald Trump’s foreign policy

The Economist on Mexico - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 10:48
Print section Print Rubric:  The executive order on visas and refugees is not the only worry other countries have about Trump’s America Print Headline:  The world, watching Print Fly Title:  How America’s allies see it UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  An insurgent in the White House Fly Title:  Worldwide watching Main image:  Maybe we won’t always have Paris Maybe we won’t always have Paris WITHIN hours of signing his executive order restricting travel from seven Muslim countries, President Donald Trump called King Salman of Saudi Arabia to discuss closer ties. “Trump reassures the allies…and the travel restrictions befuddle the world”, read the front-page banner of Asharq Al-Alawsat, a newspaper owned by the king’s son, on the following day. Some of America’s allies may be reassured; but many of them are aghast at a foreign policy that seems determined ...
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No warm welcome: How Donald Trump’s immigration edict will affect American tourism

The Economist on Mexico - Mon, 01/30/2017 - 17:47
Main image:  THERE are many ways to look at Donald Trump’s decision to ban travellers from seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations. Whether Mr Trump's order is legal, moral or self-defeating has been discussed at length elsewhere on this site. Here on Gulliver, however, we are mostly concerned with what the move means for the future of travel to America.The executive order which the president signed on January 27th restricts immigration from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Mr Trump says the aim of the edict is to thwart terrorism. It affects travellers on all types of visas (other than diplomatic and UN ones) and refugees and will be in force for 90 days (indefinitely in the case of Syrian refugees). It is still unclear exactly what it means for dual nationals or those with green cards, although Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, said that American green card holders would be unaffected. Those who have recently visited any of the proscribed countries may be subject to extra scrutiny. Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary, said Britons with dual nationality who had not recently travelled to one of the seven countries would not be hit by the ban.The direct impact to tourism of a travel ban from these countries will be small. Each sends a piddling ...
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Tijuana in a tizzy: How a Mexican border city is reacting to President Trump

The Economist on Mexico - Sun, 01/29/2017 - 19:44
Print section UK Only Article:  standard article Fly Title:  Tijuana in a tizzy Main image:  20170204_blp907.jpg UNLIKE conventional wars, the one that has broken out between Mexico and the United States is not starting on the border. Some 178,000 people still cross over daily from Tijuana to San Diego, 33km (21 miles) away, through the busiest border post between the two countries. The Mexican city is home to an estimated 100,000 Americans, many of whom commute to jobs in the United States. But the conflict that Donald Trump has provoked with Mexico is causing unease, even dread in Tijuana, a city of 1.7m people. “We’re heading for confrontation,” says David Mayagoitia of the Tijuana economic development corporation. “It’s just the details that are still to be discovered.” José Luis, a driver, fears that “Trump will declare war,” an actual shooting war, “if we don’t pay for the wall.” This is far-fetched, but one can see why Mexicans are worried. Mr Trump’s executive order to start building his long-threatened border wall was among the 14 he signed during his extraordinary first week in office. It also calls for an ...
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Taxing the poor: Making protectionism unpopular again

The Economist on Mexico - Fri, 01/27/2017 - 15:14
BACK in 1906, an insurgent politician called Joseph Chamberlain (once known as Radical Joe, he had switched to the Conservatives over home rule for Ireland*) lured the government into a campaign in favour of tariffs. The result was a devastating defeat for the Conservatives. The opposition Liberal party recognised that tariffs were a tax on the goods bought by the poor, particularly on food, and warned that the policy would lead to a "smaller loaf". They portrayed tariffs as "stomach taxes".A hundred years ago, then, it was easy to make protectionism unpopular. Despite the prosperity brought by 70 years under a more open trading system, it now seems that opinion may have changed: tariffs are favoured by "populist" politicians.**The trick for modern populists has been to focus on the positive benefits to American workers in terms of jobs, rather than the adverse impact on consumers. In fact, protectionism is highly unlikely to restore American manufacturing jobs, which are under threat from automation as well as globalisation, as our recent briefing showed. That is partly because in a world of low tariffs, consumers have become pretty blasé about buying goods from all over the world. "You don't know what you've got until you lose it" as John Lennon sang. Even the small level of existing tariffs fall most heavily on the poor, academics reckon, reducing the after-tax ...
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