Category Archives: Politics

Mexico faces uncertainty in 2018

We’ll try to make this brief since *cough* we have a date with the holiday punch bowl and we presume most of our assiduous readers are already there.  Once again to our astonishment we find ourselves at the last working day of the year, feeling like we were just here a minute ago in 2016.  But a lot has happened over the past year that is having a big impact on Mexico, North America and the rest of the world, so we’ll just throw out a few thoughts on the topic before we grab the Riunite out of the coffee nook fridge and head out to the house parties. Continue reading Mexico faces uncertainty in 2018

NAFTA woes whet food producers’ appetites

As the months wear on in the negotiations between Canada, Mexico and the United States over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the increasingly hard line from the USA has Mexican government and industry groups casting about for backup plans, you know, just in case.  For months Mexican officials have been making noises about taking their business elsewhere, specifically sourcing yellow corn from South America, although clearly returning to NAFTA status quo would be their first choice.  Mexican pork producers, for their part, have long fumed over the high volume of pork imports from the United States, and are now sensing an opportunity to strike back with NAFTA seemingly on the ropes.  The following are examples of recent maneuvering against a backdrop of the sullen tone of current NAFTA negotiations. Continue reading NAFTA woes whet food producers’ appetites

Changes to ethanol NOM prompt fuel market debate

Corn squeezins
                  Corn squeezins

Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) published modifications to the country’s fuel quality standard, NOM-016-CRE-2016, on June 26, 2017, stoking an ongoing kerfuffle among parties on either side of the ethanol-as-fuel debate.  Beyond the philosophical grandstanding, the changes to the reg have potential to impact the evolution of the fuel industry in Mexico and as is often the case, they are generating no small amount of confusion.

Over the past 10 years, national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has repeatedly announced its intention to introduce gasoline containing ethanol into the Mexican market, only to suspend the effort for one reason or another each time, most recently in 2015.  The standard permitting up to 5.8% ethanol as an oxygenate in gasoline has been on the books since August 2016, yet as best we can determine, gasoline currently sold in Mexico is oxygenated with MTBE rather than ethanol.  The recent modifications to the fuel standard include an increase in the maximum allowable percentage of ethanol in gasoline from 5.8% to 10%, clearing the way for the introduction of so-called E10 fuel.  The move comes within the context of Mexico’s energy industry reform, which allows for private production, importation and sale of fuels as well as the elimination of government establishment of fuel prices.  The elimination of gas price controls at the pump is currently being implemented by region, to culminate in nationwide free market pricing as of January 1, 2018. Continue reading Changes to ethanol NOM prompt fuel market debate