At 51st U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Group, U.S Lawmakers Praise Peña Nieto

During the opening ceremony of the 51st U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Group, U.S. lawmakers praised the structural reforms proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas) the chairman of the US interparliamentary delegation, said that when viewed from abroad, Mexico is seen as a nation that has achieved substantial agreements in a short period of time that put Mexico headed in the right direction. Rep. McCaul described the progress made ​​by these reforms as an economic revolution.

Rep. McCaul also serves as Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee

Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Eduardo Medina-Mora, said that these structual reforms will strengthen the Mexican economy and by extension the entire North American region.

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Mexico Sustainability

This past summer, 47 students attending EGADE Business School at Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology were faced with a question: How can Mexico compete over the long term? The select group of middle managers and entrepreneurs developed four scenarios in answering this question. The value of sustainability was highlighted in this approach that examined the creation of a competitive economy and the model can be transferred to other settings. The students examined Mexico’s role in the global economy, education and innovation, the role and future of cities, the energy-water food nexus, poverty and inequality, transportation, health and technology.

Students were assigned to four worlds/scenarios: the private sector, the public sector, a radical NGO, and young entrepreneurs that would participate in strategizing Mexico’s sustainable competitiveness in 2024. Participants learned three important lessons: Invest in people; Diversify markets and differentiate products, services, and business models; Focus on social and environmental sustainability. The first lesson obviously points to investing in Mexico’s education system to power the workforce which, in turn, will contribute to the competitive economy and its ability to attract and retain talent that might go elsewhere for employment.

As for diversification and differentiation, Mexico both benefits from and misses’ opportunities due to its trade relationship with the U.S. 80% of Mexican imports go to its northern neighbor, which is convenient but also makes the country vulnerable to potential problems in the U.S. market, such as the 2008 recession. With a growing middle class, Mexico’s economy needs to keep up with the population with environmentally sustainable products and practices. Although “Mexico has a strong tradition of cultural diversity and innovation in the arts and literature, this tradition has not carried over to business innovation.” Mexico must take advantage of its natural resources and biodiversity and move toward entrepreneurship to balance its reliance on energy and manufacturing with quasi-monopolies. Finally, Mexico suffers from inefficient use of water, which is already becoming a scarce commodity. It is necessary to invest in building sustainable infrastructure, including transport methods, to develop the impoverished countryside and to overcome the water scarcity. Although much remains to be done, this eight-week summer business course highlighted the importance of sustainability in moving Mexico forward.

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Gravity to hold Mexico Movie Premiere at Morelia Film Festival

Gravity, directed by the well known Alfonso Cuarón of Mexico, will open the 11th edition of the Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia. Cuarón will attend the event to present his film and will be present at international press conferences in both Mexico City and Morelia, the capital of Michoacán. According to Daniela Michel, director of the FICM, Cuarón “is a much respected filmmaker and loved by FICM.” The Mexican director will be in good company, joining directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Tommy Lee Jones, and Alejandro González Iñárritu, who have inaugurated previous editions of the festival.

Gravity stars Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney who play a medical engineer and a veteran astronaut, respectively. When disaster strikes, their shuttle is damaged and the two characters find themselves alone, spinning through space. The thriller was written by Alfonso and Jonás Cuarón, produced by Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman of the “Harry Potter” films, with Chris deFaria, Nikki Penny, and Stephen Jones as executive producers. The Warner Bros. Picture film’s Mexico premiere will take place on October 18.

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Morelia Film Festival Logo

From October 18 to 27, 2013 the Festival International de Cine de Morelia (FICM) will be the worldwide focus of filmmaking and cinematography. For two weeks, the Morelia Film Festival will host such global stars as Salma Hayek, Javier Bardem, Julia Ormond, Tommy Lee Jones, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh and Jennifer Lawrence. Since 2008, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) of the United States officially recognized FICM by offering the winning fiction, documentary and animation short films at Morelia the opportunity to be considered for an Oscar nomination. Since its beginning in 2003, FICM established a solid partnership with the Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival, which has promoted Mexican filmmakers such as Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro and Fernando Eimbcke. A selection of films from the Critics’ Week is presented each year at FICM with the presence of some of their participants. Likewise, the Critics’ Week shows some of winning films from FICM. Every year, FICM honors an important figure of Mexican cinema from the state of Michoacán. In previous years, the festival has paid tribute to the filmmakers Miguel Contreras, Fernando Méndeza and the Alva brothers; the cinematographers Ezequiel Carrasco and José Ortiz Ramos; the actors Julio Alemán and Damián Alcázar; and the actresses Stella Inda and Lilia Prado.

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Mexican Folk Art Dia de Los Muertos

The Arkansas State University Museum will be host to an extensive collection of Mexico’s popular art that has existed for over 2,000 years starting on October 23rd. The exhibit, “El Caballo: The Horse in Mexican Folk Art,” features 22 examples of Mexico’s artistic legacy including ceramics, metalwork, paintings, paper art, and sculpture. This exhibit focuses on the horse because “since introduced by the Spanish, the horse has held special prominence in Mexican culture,” from Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa to the Apostle St. James. Regional artists use a wide array of materials for diverse examples of popular art that blend tradition with modern-day creativity. The exhibit is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a program of the Mid-America Arts Alliance and curated by Robert Cugno and Robert Logan.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the ASU Museum will celebrate “Día de los Muertos,” on November 1st from 5 to 7 pm. An important Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead celebrates reconnecting with deceased family members and, contrary to its name, is a lively and festive occasion. Therefore, the museum will host a free event with activities for the whole family including face painting, crafts, games, live music, and more. Regular museum hours are Tuesday from 9 am to 7 pm, Wednesday-Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, and Sunday from 1 to 5 pm.

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Mexican National Football Team

Friday, October 11, 2013 is going to be a monumentally important day for Mexico’s National Soccer Team. As World Cup Qualifiers are coming to an end, Mexico finds themselves in fifth place in the CONCACAF table. The United States and Costa Rica have both mathematically qualified, leaving only one guaranteed slot and one intercontinental playoff slot in which CONCACAF’s 4th place team will face New Zealand in a home and away playoff. 

Mexico’s most likely chance of qualification will come through the intercontinental playoff. However, for them to even have a chance to reach this playoff, Mexico must first beat Panama on Friday at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. In the past, Azteca has been a fortress for Mexico in which they were usually guaranteed a win or at least a tie. But the reason the find themselves in this current predicament is that their form at Azteca has been off, only securing 3 points in their last four matches at Azteca with three ties and a loss. 

As they approach this crucial match, Mexico is looking at their European based players to have a major impact on the game. This list includes Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Giovanni Dos Santos and Javier Aquino but unfortunately does not include Héctor Moreno (injury) and Andrés Guardado (form). Another notable inclusion into Mexico’s roster is Rafael Marquez. The Mexican veteran and previous captain had retired from international duty but head coach Victor Manuel Vucetich has called him back in the hope that the team will benefit of his experience and veteran presence. 

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President Enrique Peña Nieto and Xi Jinping of China

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Mexico has increased 362 percent in the last seven years, from 10,569 in 2005 to 47,810 in 2012. China is now the 20th largest source of visitors to Mexico, and the second-largest source of tourists from Asia – trailing only Japan. Between 2011 and 2012, Chinese travel to Mexico rose by 29.6 percent, the highest recorded increase by any Asian country. Recent figures have been even more promising. Between January and April 2013, Chinese tourist arrivals to Mexico increase of 35.1 percent over the same period last year.

Mexican Secretary of Tourism Claudia Ruiz Massieu recently traveled to China to meet with officials of the National Tourism Administration of China (CNTA), headed by its Chairman Shao Qiwei. Mexico is seeking to promote Mexico as a tourism destination throughout Asia, including China. At the suggestion of Ruiz Massieu, she and her Chinese tourism counterparts agreed to propose to their governments that 2015 be  declared the Year of Mexico-China Tourism.

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Mexican Grand Prix 2014

Sergio Perez reckons Formula 1 will be blown away by the reception it gets in his homeland if the planned Mexican Grand Prix gets the green light for 2014. After a trying first season following his move to McLaren, Sergio Perez admits that he is already looking forward to leading the team to the Mexican Grand Prix. A draft calendar circulated to teams before the Monza race had a record 21 rounds, with Mexico listed for November 9, 2014, the week before the US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

Perez said: "I'm very excited. It's not confirmed yet, it's just a pre-calendar but I feel there are very big chances now of this happening. It will be great for my country, great for the sport. F1 will be amazed how popular this grand prix can become...it will be huge for F1 as a sport to go there."

Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Domit: "I believe there is potential to do more races in the Americas and I believe that Mexico is in the right spot to do it. It's a stable country, our economy is doing quite well and we have drivers people can identify with. All of the pieces are coming together and I believe the potential promoters are doing a good job in trying to secure something."

Mexico last hosted a grand prix in 1992, when Nigel Mansell triumphed for Williams en route to his world championship title. That race also took place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which is on course to return to the calendar despite rumors that Mexico was seeking alternative venues, such as the resort of Cancun, to stage its comeback.

As expected, the Mexican race is featured towards the end of the 2014 schedule, but was listed before the USGP rather than after it was anticipated. The November 9th slot ensures a three-race swing through the Americas to end the campaign, with Brazil continuing to stage the season finale.

The Mexican reckoned a few flat-out months of work would be required to upgrade the pit and paddock facilities but the layout was good. "I know how good the racetrack is," Perez stated, "Obviously, they need to rebuild it, but there is time enough. They have to change the pits to make them proper for F1, and improve a few corners but, apart from that, it's just a matter of time what they can do. They don't have to do big things for the racetrack to be ready so I really hope - for the good of the sport and my country - that it happens."

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Go_Deeper_Into_Mexico_With_Mezcal

Mezcal, which comes from agave like its more popular counterpart, tequila, has recently emerged as a trend on several cocktail lists. It is characterized as having a smoky taste that cannot be masked, even by the addition of fruit juices, sugar, or other mixers. It adds complexity to the usual tequila cocktails: “Everyone is familiar with a margarita, and it’s a good way to showcase mescal,” explains Ethan Smith, mixologist and co-owner of the restaurant Hecho en Dumbo in NoHo. Although both mezcal and tequila are made from agave, “mezcal can be made from any of nearly 30 types of agave,” while tequila must be 100% blue agave, and in the former, “the piñas, or cores, are usually smoked in open pits, not steamed” as is the case for tequila.

Mezcal can be mixed with tequila in a cocktail, as Brian Van Flandern of Creative Cocktail Consultants has showcased with his “Smoking Jacket,” which combines the two at varying proportions and contains many of the familiar ingredients of a margarita. Mr. Van Flandern’s new book, “Craft Cocktails,” features several mezcal cocktails. Mezcal partners particularly well with whiskey (especially scotch) and certain fruits such as orange and pineapple. Although Mexican dishes are the first that come to mind when pairing mezcal with food, the spirit also goes well with Asian food. Fresh Hamptons, in Bridgehampton, N.Y, has a distinct Asian influence. The house mixologist, Douglas Sheehan, serves reposado mezcal with fresh pineapple juice, honey, chile, and lime for a sweet and spicy cocktail called “They Didn’t Burn Rome in a Day.”

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Tequila Mexico China

Francisco N. González Díaz of ProMexico, the Consul General of Mexico in Shanghai Rolando Garcia Alonso and Milton Alatorre of the Tequila Regulatory Council in Asia heralded the arrival of the first 70,000 bottles of 100 percent agave tequila in China. Ten different brands of 100 percent agave tequila have been shipped to China. González noted  that thanks to the efforts of the industry, 100 percent agave tequila can be found in more than 100 countries. The delivery ceremony took place at Bund 27, the House of Roosevelt in Shanghai, China. 

Thanks to a June 2013 agreement signed by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Chinese President Xi Jinping, China will reduce trade barriers on the sale and import of Mexican tequila. Mexico is expected to export 10 million liters of tequila to China over the next 5 years. ProMexico estimated global Mexican tequila exports last year at over $860 million, or 300 liters per minute.

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World Tourism Day

According to the UNWTO, World Tourism Day’s goal is to “foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to highlight the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals,” as stated on its website.

The 2014 World Tourism Day theme will be “Tourism and Development in the Community”. In 2015, Burkina Faso will become the host country under the theme “A billion tourists, a billion opportunities”.

Mexico was selected to become the host of this important world tourism day during the 10th General Assembly of the UNWTO which took place at the Victoria cataracts between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Mexico sees its First Open-Source Cell Phone Network

To connect with the rest of the world, the residents of the Zapotec village of Talea de Castro in Southern Mexico once endured long lines, large distances and high fees to make a phone call. Thanks to simple radio receivers, a laptop and relatively inexpensive internet technologies, the villagers now have access to their own “mini-telecom company” that reduces fees significantly and can handle 11 cell phone calls at a time.

More than 720 residents have signed up to use the new system, which uses a small antenna to capture calls with a “generic” radio. The system is similar to “a cell phone version of Skype.” Local calls are free and every subscriber has a distinct mobile number.

Backers of this impactful improvement, such as Rhizomatica, hope this plan can bring connections to thousands of other small, isolated villages around the world, where roughly 700 million people lack affordable cell service.

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EPN visiting Indonesia & Singapore in October

In an effort to strengthen bilateral ties amid Mexico’s new focus on Asia, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, will participate in the 2013 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia during his tour of Asia in October.

"This will be the first time that a president of Mexico will visit Singapore in the first year of his administration," Jose Antonio Meade, Foreign Minister of Mexico, said. “The idea for him to come here so early is so that we have the time over his six years to develop a framework for a better relationship.”

During an interview in Singapore on August 17th, Jose Antonio Meade, Mexico’s Foreign Minister, told The Sunday Times that the President’s visit would bring a “new level of intensity to ties” as well as open up business opportunities. Last year, Mexico, Chile, Colombo and Peru joined to form the Pacific Alliance, a pro-free-trade group that strives to improve relations with Asia.

Foreign Minister, Meade said, "We want to be closer from the bilateral perspective... and also as a way to have better access to the South-east Asian nations and the rest of Asia. We want to be closer to Singapore as a Pacific Alliance.”

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Condé Nast Traveler Magazine

The tourism magazine Condé Nast Traveler has named Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as one of its Travel Visionaries for 2013. The list of visionaries honored those individuals “who use their celebrity, artistry, and global platform to make our planet a more just, healthy, and peaceful place.”

In its profile, Condé Nast Traveler highlighted some of the political and environmental successes of President Peña Nieto’s first year in office, stating that “Peña Nieto has brought opposing sides together in ways that President Obama can only envy. He has persuaded the three major parties to work together on educational and economic reforms and to break up the telecommunications and energy monopolies.”

With respect to environmental issues, Condé Nast Traveler notes that “In another sign of courage, Peña Nieto is sticking to Mexico’s aggressive plans to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2020.”

The magazine reports that President Peña Nieto has proposed  an initiative to promote responsible tourism that gives back to communities. Peña Nieto has said: “We must improve our destinations for visitors, but also for those who live and work here.”

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Mexico

Vice President of the United States Joe Biden will visit Mexico on September 19 and 20 for bilateral meetings with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. During his visit, Biden will launch the U.S-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue, and participate in an educational event as part of the Bilateral Forum on Education, Research and Innovation. 

At a bilateral meeting in May, President Peña Nieto and U.S. President Barack Obama launched the Education Forum agreement in order to expand student exchanges and increase research in the education sector.The forum seeks to "expand economic opportunities for the citizens" of the two countries and will promote greater access to postsecondary education" for traditionally underserved demographic groups in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Mexico and the United States have a long history of educational collaboration, with more than 18,000 college students exchanges between the two countries each year.

This upcoming trip to Mexico will mark Biden’s fifth trip to Latin America as vice president.

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