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MEXICO - ECONOMY

CURRENCY
The Peso

THE ECONOMY
Mexico enjoys a strong position among developing nations. Its 1998 GDP topped $400 billion dollars. Despite the setback of a major currency devaluation in early 1995, the economy is rebounding under a rejuvenated market –oriented system, with less government interference and protectionism. These reforms

have generated a renewal of foreign support, stimulating investment in several important sectors.

The Mexican economy achieved the following advances in 2000:

* The economy grew by 5.8% (The economy is expected to grow by 7% in 2000.)
* Mexico exports exceeded $120 billion in 2000, a new record high.
* Open unemployment fell to 3.1%. More than 2 million permanent new jobs were created in 2000.
* Inflation climbed in 1998 to 18.6% from 15.7% in 1997. The target for 1999 is 13%.
* International reserves jumped to over $50 billion at the end of 1999, up from $17.5 billion in 1996.
* Mexico became the second largest trading partner for the U.S. (Surpassing Japan).

Despite post devaluation economic hardship, Mexico’s economy remains quite diverse and fundamentally sound. Mining manufacturing, petroleum (80 billion barrels in reserves! ), electronics, textiles and tourism are all developed industries.

In fact, Mexico produces more corn than India, more beer than Australia, more steel than Sweden, more glass

than Austria, and more oil than the United Arab Emirates. Paradoxically, Mexico has more millionaires than Germany, yet half its population is supported by traditional low technology industry and agriculture.

By signing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico joined the U.S. and Canada in forming the largest single market in the world : 8 million square miles, 360 million people, and 6.8 trillion in annual economic production.

During NAFTA’s first five years intra-regional trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico grew to nearly $500 billion.





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