What's Going On In This Country?

January 22, 2018 Edition
BY: SANTIAGO VERDUGO

Who needs the United States? Mexican exports to Canada placed fourth in Canada overall, Statistics Canada has revealed. 

The trade balance between both countries remains favorable to Mexico. During most of the last year, Mexico kept a favorable trade balance with Canada that in average reached 1.5 billion dollars each month, Statistics Canada said.

The main Mexican exports to Canada were machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment and accessories related to sound systems. Mexico also exports to Canada equipment related with aircrafts, vessels and transport vehicles.

Mexican horticulture, including plants, trees, bulbs, roots, flowers, edible oils, fruits and citrus, coffee, spices, cereals, medicinal plants and oil fruits also were important to Canada.

Hey, who moved our cheese? Both Spain and Mexico are claiming marketing and naming rights to manchego cheese. Spain’s is sheep’s cheese from central Spain; Mexico’s manchego cheese is a softer cow’s milk product, usually used to stuff quesadillas, rather than savored with a glass of Rioja.

This bruhaha is holding up progress as the European Union negotiates a new trade deal with Mexico.

Spain does have a point, as they have produced this cheese since Roman times in the La Mancha area of central Spain.

“This cheese has a natural environment in which it is produced. If you make a drink called Scottish whisky, it is because it is distilled in Scotland” said Spanish trade honcho Álvarez de Toledo.

The reason for this argument is it holds the key to sales to the US market, where Mexican producers currently hold a dominant position. Spain wants in.

How do you feel about orange? You better like it, if you live in San Luis Potosi, on the mainland. The mayor’s urban improvement program is making sure that Pantone 116, the official color of the political party PRD, of which the mayor is a member, is splashed all over the city.

Ricardo Gallardo took office in October 2015 and a year later began giving the state capital a flood of orange.

Footbridges, lampposts, walls, planters, parks, schools and even whole housing projects are now painted in the exact same color as the political party.

The mayor is defending this by claiming his goal is to employ young gang members and improve urban areas in marginalized neighborhoods of the city. The goal of the Gallardo administration is to paint half a million square feet of public buildings and housing.

Known locally as the “yellow wave,” the color is even found on official vehicles, the official website and the clothing of government officials, who have been seen wearing yellow vests to work.

Uh oh Pemex, the national oil company that can't shoot straight, is now importing gasoline. For many years they have sent raw oil across the border to be refined and sent back, but now they're not even pretending to keep up with demand at home for their oil

In October, Andeavor was the first company to import gasoline into Mexico, shipping fuel from its facility in Anacortes, Washington, to a Pemex facility in Rosarito Beach in northern Baja.

In December, ExxonMobil was the first company to import fuel into Mexico without depending on Pemex's infrastructure. The company introduced fuel via rail into Mexico's central Bajio region to supply its first Mobil branded station in the country.

Mexico actually has more oil reserves than the US, they just can’t figure out how to get it out of the ground economically.

Ye gods! The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of $98 million worth of missiles and other military equipment to Mexico. Does Trump know about this? Is this part of his deal making for  “anything for a buck” program?

Turns out the Mexican government had requested to buy six Harpoon Block II surface launched missiles, 23 tactical missiles and six lightweight torpedoes. And related equipment. What is related to missiles, I don’t know, I’m only a cat. But it’s unlikely they’re talking about pea shooters.

Start stockpiling Everything. Inflation reached a 17-year-high of 6.77% last year, its highest level since May 2001 when it reached 6.95%, according to the National Statistics Institute, Inegi. The Mexican treasury is wringing its collective hands over it, as their target was 3%.

Inflation spiked at the beginning of the year following a massive fuel price increase. Since then, higher fruit and vegetable prices have been another factor that contributed to the problem. On average, their cost rose 17.5% last month.  The price of tomatoes experienced the biggest hike last month, increasing by 42.9%, followed by zucchini which rose by 26.8%. Well, we can all live without zucchini, can’t we?

On the other hand, onions and cucumbers all decreased in price last month. Onions and pickles, yup, we can struggle along with that on our hamburgesa.

Now this is payroll padding 8,000 government employees in Oaxaca are about to lose their jobs because the state’s Health Secretariat is grossly overstaffed, says the state’s new health secretary, Juan Díaz. This cost the state about US $259 million annually. About 44% of the 18,000 people employed by the Health Secretariat will be chopped.

Governor Alejandro Murat has stated that he inherited an inflated payroll from his predecessor, Gabino Cué and the situation is affecting the operations of the state’s hospitals.

 “We’re going to restructure, and those who are not needed will have to go, because the Secretariat of Health will not be the Secretariat of Employment. Its mission is to offer health, not employment,”