Mexico’s president replaced a top trade negotiator on Friday in a major overhaul of his economy ministry that leaves an inexperienced team to deal with a fraught and potentially costly trade dispute with the United States and Canada.
Alejandro Encinas Najera, a relatively unheralded labor ministry official whose father is a deputy interior minister, replaced Luz Maria de la Mora as deputy economy minister for trade, the government said.
The move stunned economic analysts and came a week after de la Mora’s boss, Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier, quit and was replaced by Raquel Buenrostro, head of the tax authority.
“It’s a really bad sign for the economy,” said Gabriela Siller, an economist at BANCO Base. De la Mora “was the one who had all the experience, and was in all those talks so everything would get resolved.”
The shake-up has been accompanied by the removal of at least 12 other economy ministry officials in recent days, a government source said. The ministry declined to comment.
Buenrostro rose to prominence boosting government tax revenues from big companies and ending years of leniency with powerful firms. But neither she nor Encinas had worked on the trade dispute, which arose after U.S. firms challenged President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s nationalist energy agenda.
In July, the United States demanded settlement talks on the grounds that Lopez Obrador’s energy policies discriminated against U.S. firms and violated a North American trade pact.
However, despite her inexperience in trade, some analysts hope Buenrostro carries more political clout than her predecessor and could press governmental energy nationalists to give ground, reducing the risk of a damaging tariff dispute.
Source: El Universal