November 2010

Palm-oil producers stand to win big in Cancun

Bloomberg - Palm-oil growers in Asia will be paying attention when climate negotiators meet next week in Cancun. Any UN-led accord that restricts clearing rainforest for planting palm trees would limit the supply of the edible oil.

Ex-executive says Sempra Energy paid bribes in and brought armed private protection to Mexico

By Jeff McDonald
San Diego Union-Tribune

A former Sempra executive in Baja California has sued for wrongful termination, claiming he was fired for raising too many questions about bribes and other business practices south of the border.

Rodolfo Michelon, terminated in March after five years as controller for Sempra Global in Mexico, said he was directed to bribe government officials, approve improper spending and overlook his ethical obligations as a certified public accountant.

Sempra officials called Michelon a disgruntled ex-employee attempting to cash in by making “outlandishly false claims and misrepresentations” after being let go in a routine reorganization.

“The company first became aware of Mr. Michelon’s claims several months ago,” spokesman Doug Kline wrote. “Sempra’s board of directors ordered an independent investigation, which found Mr. Michelon’s allegations to be completely without merit.”

Michelon’s lawsuit is the second in the past four months accusing Sempra of bribing Mexican officials, bringing armed guards into Mexico to protect executives and lying about its business activities.

Organizers cancel Seattle outsourcing in Mexico event

Seattle PI - Facing a threat of protests by union aerospace workers, organizers have canceled a conference in Seattle to promote aerospace outsourcing in Mexico. Aerospace is a growing industry in Mexico, which offers the industry global competitiveness.

Mexico to close what might be world's largest landfill

CNBC - Mexico’s Interior Department has announced that it is closing the massive Bordo Poniente landfill at Mexico City that receives 12,000 tons of garbage a day – considered the world’s largest landfill with an estimated 76 million tons of trash.

SCT says Capital PC had only viable Mexicana rescue plan - Transportation Secretary Humberto Trevino said that after deep analysis and assessment the Capital PC proposal to bail out bankrupt Mexicana Airlines was the only viable option for Mexicana to restart operations efficiently.

Nissan's electric Leaf to be used as taxis - Nissan's electric car, the Leaf 500, will be used as individual taxis in the Federal District during the second half of 2011 under a pilot program that the Japanese automaker signed with the Federal District government.

Leader of new mining union is abducted

Vanguardia - Four men aboard a van without license plates on Monday afternoon abducted Carlos Pavon, the leader of a newly created mining union that is considered the seed of a new union in the country's mining industry. The abduction was near Zacatecas.

As growth slows, projections for 2011 are revised downward
As the Mexican economy begins to show signs of slowing, analysts are estimate that the country's growth rate will fall to 3.5 percent or 3.2 percent in 2011, which would be far from the estimated 3.9 percent growth rate the Congress is projecting.

Mexico's economic growth is slowing at a rate more consistent with the country's production capacity, but activity is also influenced by the weakness in external demand and the gradual development of the domestic market, says Alfredo Coutinho, director for Latin America at Moody's Analytics.

Direct foreign investment in third quarter grows 14% to $2.12 billion but lags 44% behind 2008

By Ivonne Melgar and Alicia Valverde

Mexico's Ministry of Economy reported that the country attracted $2.12 billion in direct foreign investment from July to September this year, an increase of 14 percent compared the same period in 2009.

From January to September this year, total direct foreign investment amounted to $14.36 billion, an increase of 21.1 percent over the same period last year.

However, when compared to the third quarter of 2008, when FDI reached $3.8 billion, the third quarter total represents a 44 percent slump.

The most attractive sectors were manufacturing (60.7 percent), commerce (16.8 percent) and financial services (12.5 percent).

President Felipe Calderon, speaking at the announcement of Brazil's Embraco $90 million investment in Mexico, admitted that many Mexicans still can not perceive the improvement in the economy and said the government is working to extend those benefits.

Police mistakenly kill doctor in Colima

New York Times - An ophthalmologist in the Pacific state of Colima, Dr. Mario Eduardo Robles Gil, 56, was accidentally shot dead by the police at a roadblock set up as part of the search for the assassins of an ex-governor, Colima’s governor said.