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Monday, September 10, 2018

Mexico: Sixth State of the Union Address

President Enrique Peña Nieto

(Synopsis, as published September 3, 2018 by Presidencia de la República)

Today we are a better country than we were six years ago: (President) Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN)

● The President declared that he will deliver a country with important strengths, such as political, social and economic stability; healthy public finances; and an economy that generates jobs.

The president stressed the importance of sticking to the facts and figures, beyond subjective assessments, in order to describe the transformation that the country has experienced in multiple areas of national life, but also to keep in mind the persistence of lags and challenges that have not yet been overcome.

At the beginning of the administration, five national goals of the National Development Plan were defined.

“Mexico is now ready to continue growing and developing in the coming years and decades.” The president therefore welcomed the fact that the incoming Administration will be given, “A country with major strengths.”

He highlighted:

        Political, social and economic stability;

       Sound public finances, with 78% more taxpayers than six years ago and a manageable, decreasing debt.

        The lowest inflation in an administration for nearly 50 years.

        New formal jobs that are growing at a rate of 800,000 per year, which puts us on track to reach 4 million new jobs during this administration.

      A New Energy Model that allows us to recover our strength in this sector and free public resources for social programs.

        The greatest Direct Foreign Investment in our history, for over $192 billion USD to date; in addition to investments that have already been pledged for nearly 200 billion dollars, in the energy sector alone. 

      The lowest percentages of poverty and social deprivation on record.

       A New Educational Model, which is being implemented in the classrooms as of this school year.

        Ongoing telecommunications projects that will allow broadband internet service for at least 92% of the population by the year 2024.

       Twice the port capacity that existed at the beginning of this government.

       A renewed road network and large-scale rail and airport projects.

       And a set of new generation trade agreements and close relations with all the countries with which we share principles and interests.

Mexico at Peace

A Security Strategy was implemented in order to improve operating coordination between the three levels of government; strengthen the institutional capacities of police corporations; make intensive use of intelligence systems; and strengthen the social prevention of violence and crime.

“The new rules and institutions are powerful deterrents for those who are tempted to break the law, and provide means of punishment for those who dare to do so.” He added that, “Those who break the law and betray the mystique of public service, deserve the full rigor of the law.” This is how the Mexican State has acted, "without distinction." EPN

        Progress was made in dismantling the main criminal organizations: 110 of the 122 objectives were neutralized.

      The National Anti-Kidnapping Coordinating Office was created, which in 2017 enabled the kidnapping rate to be reduced by more than 23% in comparison with 2012.

“I am aware that we have not achieved the goal of restoring peace and security for Mexicans in all corners of the country,” said the president, adding that, “making this desire shared by all Mexicans a reality will require a sustained effort for a long time, and firmly supported by public resources.” EPN

Inclusive Mexico

In 2012, according to data from the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL), seven million people were living in extreme food poverty. Accordingly, the National Crusade Against Hunger was launched in 2013. The network of Community Kitchens was created, of which there are now over five thousand throughout the country, in which more than one million meals are served daily.

       Diconsa, the largest supply network in the Americas, opened 1,240 new stores, and now has four Bulk Warehouses in Chiapas, Hidalgo, the State of Mexico and Veracruz, making it possible to store 200,000 tons in support of small producers in the country.

      Liconsa increased its coverage in 238 municipalities, managing to serve 6.2 million people daily, 243,000 more than in 2012.

      The National Inclusion Strategy was also created, which made it possible to focus the efforts of federal agencies and local governments, whose approach seeks to simultaneously address the set of social deficiencies that are the cause and consequence of poverty.

In the first four years of the Administration, 2.2 million Mexicans overcame the condition of extreme poverty, and today:

        6.2 million more Mexicans have access to health services.

       3.4 million more Mexicans have access to social security.

       2.8 million more Mexicans have sufficient, healthy and varied food.

      1.3 million Mexicans overcame educational backwardness.

      1.2 million more Mexicans have access to basic housing services.

       1.1 million more Mexicans have quality and spaces in their homes.

Mexico with Quality Education

The three pillars on which Education Reform was based:

1) The professionalization of teachers and merit-based salary increases;

2) the updating of educational content; and

3) the strengthening of schools, both in their operation and in their infrastructure.

“It was essential to recover the stewardship of the State in educational matters, preventing it from remaining hostage to particular and illegitimate interests.” EPN

Another essential component of Education Reform is the creation of the Professional Teaching Service. Thanks to the participation of Mexico’s teachers, 1.5 million admission, performance and promotion evaluations have been made in Basic and Higher Education, and over 200,000 teachers have obtained places and promotions on the basis of their evaluations.

Through the Hundred Per Cent Schools Program, approximately 30,000 schools were refurbished with works and services such as toilets, furniture and equipment. Likewise, the number of Full-Time Schools has quadrupled, and now total 25,000, benefiting 3.6 million students.

During this Administration, federal investment in Science, Technology and Innovation was increased to 498 billion pesos, 65% more than in the previous administration. 33% more national postgraduate grants were awarded, together with 53% more overseas scholarships, than in 2012.

        The National System of Researchers grew and currently has more than 28,600 researchers.

      A total of 7,700 million pesos have been invested in 1,287 scientific infrastructure spaces.

Prosperous Mexico

“We drew a clear roadmap based on three axes: 1) consolidating macroeconomic stability; 2) boosting the productivity and competitiveness of our economy, and 3) promoting more balanced regional development.”

Thanks to Energy Reform, today more than 70 companies from 20 countries are participating in the exploration and/or extraction of hydrocarbons and have planned to create 900,000 new jobs.

       Private investment in the energy sector will be over $200 billion USD in the coming years, which frees up government resources for spending on social programs.

        The low-consumption domestic electricity tariff – paid by 99% of Mexican households – has not risen in four years. Today it is 16% lower in real terms than it was at the end of 2012.

      National long-distance telephone charges were eliminated; the cost of fixed local telephony fell by 5%; of mobile telephony by 43%, and of international long-distance calls by 40%.

        In terms of coverage, between 2012 and 2017 the number of Internet users rose to more than 80 million.

      The Shared Network was launched, which began operating in March 2018, which will increase access to mobile telephony and broadband internet throughout the country, reaching 92% of national coverage in 2024.

As a result of Financial Reform, since December 2012 internal financing for the private sector has risen from 27% to 35% of the Gross Domestic Product, including record levels for mortgage loans.

Anti-trust Reform created an autonomous, independent Commission with greater powers to guarantee competition in the markets. In 2017 alone, their shares translated into savings for consumers of over 6.8 billion pesos.

Thanks to Labor Reform, by the end of the administration four million new formal jobs will have been created, more than in the last two Administrations together, and of those positions, 43% have been occupied by women and 39% by young people.

In terms of infrastructure, at the end of this Administration more than 6,400 kilometers of roads and highways will have been built or modernized. And as for ports, what had been achieved in the previous hundred years has been achieved in six years: by the end of this year we will have doubled the carrying capacity of our ports from 260 million tons per year to more than 530 tons.

So far during this administration, six new Protected Natural Areas have been decreed, including Revillagigedo National Park. With these new zones, 91 million hectares of land and sea are already protected, more than twice the amount that were protected six years ago.

Mexico is a tourist power. We went from occupying 15th place to being the sixth most visited country in the world today. In 2017, we received 39 million foreign tourists, 68% more than in 2012. Mexico has positioned itself as the ninth most attractive destination in the world for investment in the next few years. 

     We have received Foreign Direct Investment for a record amount of over 192 billion dollars, exceeding the amount received in any other Administration.

        The average annual inflation rate of 4% is the lowest in a six-year term in 48 years and throughout the administration.

       The minimum wage has had a 17% recovery in real terms, the highest in the past 42 years.

This is the administration of employment, tourism and Foreign Direct Investment; infrastructure and the export of food and manufactures; the expansion of mobile telephony and the Internet; clean energies and the opening up of the energy sector, declared the president.

Mexico with Global Responsibility

We believe in an international system based on rules, and therefore on shared values for addressing global challenges.

To modernize our first career civil service, improve its working and retirement conditions, and recognize the essential contribution of our diplomacy to the development of our country, the new Mexican Foreign Service law was passed.

“This Administration reaffirmed the open, competitive nature of the Mexican economy. That is why we undertook the broadest business negotiation agenda in history.” EPN

       With the United States we have reached an understanding on commercial matters that dissipates the uncertainty generated in recent months.

        That negotiation achieved the goals Mexico set at the outset: free trade has been maintained; quotas or restrictions are not accepted; and the instruments for the solution of controversies have been preserved and strengthened.”

      We have strengthened our ties with Canada, with joint cooperation initiatives in energy, migration facilitation, labor mobility, mining investment, and clean energy development.

        Mexico has renewed its links with Latin American and Caribbean countries. Seven years since its creation, the Pacific Alliance – comprising Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico – is a successful model of economic integration. Tariff liberalization of 92% of products; a visa waiver for citizens of the four countries; and the institutionalization of the Student and Academic Mobility Platform were achieved.

        With Europe we have renewed our legal framework through the new Mexico-EU Global Agreement, which will boost commercial relations and cooperation for development.

      In Asia-Pacific, Mexico participated in the creation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, ratified in April 2018 by the Senate.

“All the treaties that we have negotiated or are modernizing comprise 95% of the total amount of our exports.”: EPN

The issuance of the Single Code for the Registration of Temporary Population for Foreigners was promoted. In addition, Child Protection Officers assisted and protected over 62,000 unaccompanied foreign minors.

After over 20 years of absence, we resumed our participation in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.

        Since then, 72 members of the Armed Forces and the National Security Commission have taken part in eight Operations in Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America.

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Source: Presidency of the Republic, September 03, 2018, Mexico City; translation, Presidency of the Republic

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