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Always look on the bright side…

3 February 2017

I understand completely the funk a writer friend of mine has fallen into. Having written a very successful book on moving to her part of Mexico, she’d been working on an update, but the events of the last 10 days have made her question whether it is even in the best interest of foreigners to consider moving to a country that may be going through worse times than usual.

imagesOthers I know are looking to “escape” to Mexico… some with a legitimate fear of persecution or incarceration for never having completed the entire expensive process of naturalization in the United States, and there are those (myself among them) who found Trump’s knee-slapper of a threat to send US troops to Mexico somewhat less amusing when we remember that the United States has invaded this country three times, and that

With all that, there is no need to fall into a deep depression, or plan a further move to Tierra del Fuego. Not yet anyway.

Not my normal afternoon reading when I out running errands, but my newsstand had sold out of La Jornada, so I picked up the Spanish daily, El País, instead. Two stories immediately jumped out, getting front page treatment in the Mexican edition. Both a growing rejection of Trumpism, and closer European-Mexican commercial ties.

As also reported in The Guardian:

The European parliament’s main political parties are making an unprecedented attempt to block Donald Trump’s likely choice as ambassador to the European Union from EU buildings, describing him as hostile and malevolent.

In a startling move that threatens a major diplomatic row, the leaders of the conservative, socialist and liberal groups in Brussels have written to the European commission and the European council, whose members represent the 28 EU states, to reject the appointment of Ted Malloch.

Fascinating that all European parties (with a few exceptions, like the British UKIP) to reject Trump and all his works… and, more importantly for us, doing exactly what the Mexican left has argued for years that we need to do… that is, if we have to depend on exports, expand our target market. Though I’ve been dubious (or downright hostile) to global trade agreements, this (from the British Independent), which I also first read in El País is very good news:

The European Union and Mexico will speed up negotiations to seal a free trade pact, as US President Donald Trump threatens to pull out of a deal with its Central American neighbour, hit the country with punitive border taxes and make it pay for a border wall.

The move has been triggered by a “worrying rise of protectionism around the world”, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, and the minister of economy of Mexico, Ildefonso Guajardo said in a statement on Wednesday.

The pair said they would hold additional rounds of meetings in April and June as well as further talks in Mexico City.

And speaking of expanded markets… from Radio New Zealand:

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto has decided to pursue bilateral agreements with New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

New Zealand and Mexico’s two-way trade was worth more than $700 million last year.

“We are happy to share with you that the Mexican government has decided to launch bilateral FTA (free trade agreement) negotiations with a number of TPP countries, and this includes New Zealand,” said José Gerardo Traslosheros, the Mexican Ambassador to New Zealand.

A key issue for any trade deals would be access for New Zealand and Australian dairy and other agricultural produce, because of the importance of those sectors in Mexico. It also noted that Mexico could be a source of cars.

Under the TPP deal, Mexico had promised to gradually increase dairy import quotas.

China and Japan may be coming in with the new Asian-Pacific agreement as well. And, in something of a win for Mexican farmers, and others who haven’t benefited from NAFTA, and those of us who have always seen NAFTA as less a “Free Trade” deal than a “Open Seaas mentioned elsewhere (and here, from Bloomberg)Mexico is calling Trump’s bluff…

Mexico’s government began a formal 90-day consultation process with the nation’s business community that’s needed before the start of talks to revise Nafta and must be prepared for all scenarios, the country’s top diplomat said.

Foreign Relations Minister Luis Videgaray on Wednesday said his visit to Washington last week was to lay the groundwork for collaboration with President Donald Trump’s government and not to negotiate details of trade for any specific industries. Talks will begin in May…

As I wrote yesterday, this country is desperate to increase its supply of dairy products, so win-win, if we’re getting good New Zealand butter at a better price. And I’m looking forward to affordable Spanish Serrano ham, and if Renaults replace Chevrolets as taxis, what’s so bad about that?

AND… Mexico City (which has a larger population than some countries) is getting a new constitution. Not quite perfect, but a progressive document that should be a touchstone for revised constitutional law in the coming decades. More at that later.

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