By RICARDO CASTILLO
U.S. OKs Anti-Covid-19 Exports to Mexico, Canada
The U.S. export prohibition of anti-Covid-19 personal protection equipment to Mexico and Canada has been lifted, according to a memo issued by the U.S. Customs Border Protection Agency.
The ban included ventilators, mouth covers and balloons, which can now be acquired by Mexico.
On Tuesday, April 14, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) said that he was waiting for a call from U.S. President Donald Trump on the issue, particularly ventilators, but the answer came later in the day with the CBP memo.
AMLO had personally asked Trump to approve the sale of 10,000 ventilators to Mexico.
The nation is now acquiring mouth covers and N95 masks from China.
This may make it possible for U.S. manufacturing plants operating along the border on the Mexican side as maquiladoras to sell their “for export only” materials to the Mexican government’s health organizations, such as the National Social Security Institute and Federal Employees hospital chains.
México Does Well with OPEC
AMLO said the Mexico did “requetebién!” – meaning extremely well — after last week’s OPEC round of negotiations to cut oil production.
He added that Energy Secretary Rocio Nahle got help both from U.S. President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to keep Mexico’s production reduction to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd).
The help came when Nahle pulled what in Mexico was considered a temper tantrum by dropping out of the video meeting after disagreements with Saudi Arabian representatives.
She, however, eventually got back to the negotiations table and managed to keep Mexico’s contribution low, with the help of Trump, who committed an extra 300,000 bpd to cover the amount demanded by the Saudis.
The 9.7 million bpd cut as of May did not pump up oil prices in the international market as expected, and the value of the Mexican crude mix inched up just marginally from $16.54 to $17.15.
No More Tax Amparos
The Mexican fiscal attorney, Carlos Romero Aranda, announced Monday, April 13, that there would be no more legal protections known as “amparos” against paying taxes.
The announcement came after a court secretary in the city of San Luis Potosí issued on a temporary suspension of tax payments on April 3 until the Federal Attorney issued an order to condone, exempt or prorogate tax payments due to the health emergency at hand.
The tax payment suspension issued to Cano Sota and Associates was revoked effective Monday, April 13, at the San Luis Potosí court.
The revocation is also sending a clear nationwide message both to judges and companies that this type of once.cherished legal haven will no longer be permitted by the federal government.
Mexico No-Growth Predictions
Over the past few days, a broad array of financial agents have stated that a recession is inevitable in the years to come – how many depends of the particular soothsayer — but official predictions, such as the one from the World Bank (WB), predict that the Mexican gross domestic product will plunge by 6 percent, more or less.
The impact of the Covid-19 crisis on employment could further weaken the economy, the bank said, making recovery difficult, but it also forecasted that Mexico could get back to a 2.5 GDP growth by 2021, if all goes well and Mexico manages to eliminate uncertainty for private investment.
Public Acquisitions Revamped
AMLO sent a bill to the Mexican Chamber of Deputies to revamp the Law of Acquisitions and Leasing to Public Sector Services.
The majority leader for National Regeneration Movement (Morena) political party, Mario Delgado, said the bill aims to eliminate the participation of “ghost companies, kickbacks, lopsided favorable decisions, unnecessary purchases and the acquisition of goods or services that are not delivered or are of inferior quality to the one agreed upon,” among other issues that damage government sourcing practices.
The bill includes also a change to make consolidated purchases for the government at large through the creation of a new entity called the Committee for Consolidated Contracts.
The Mexican Workers Confederation’s (CTM) Labor Committee Secretary Javier Villarreal Gámez called on the federal government for a second time to lift the lockdown on mine operations and let workers get back to doing their jobs.
Mining is an essential industry and must be reinitiated, he said.
Opposing the CTM’s second call during April to reopen mine operations was Senator Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, who claims that mining activities should remain subjected to a lockdown “regardless of the bottomless avarice of the owners of great mining consortia, such as Industria Minera Mexico and Peñoles.”
Ironically, last week the two mining consortia owners, Germán Larrea and Alberto Bailleres – both among the nation’s top tycoons – met personally with AMLO to express their support. AMLO welcomed them with open arms.
Villarreal, on the other hand, claimed that the labor standstill is damaging mines on the Mexican Stock Exchange, where mining stocks continues to lose value.
Villareal also claimed mining companies in Mexico are fleeing the nation to other countries that have not imposed work lockdowns on mining activities, including the United States, Chile, Peru and Spain.
In the meantime, all mining activities in Mexico remain suspended.
Sports: Soccer Ascent MX League Dead
The Ascent MX Soccer League was declared defunct on Tuesday, April 14, by the Mexican Soccer Federation.
The owners pleaded to replace it, however, with a new organization they called Development League, which still does not have a format and will take five years to take shape.
In the meantime, there will no longer be the team ascents and descents to the premier class League MX, which will continue to wield 18 team seasons once soccer activities get back to normal scheduling.