The Mexican ambassador to the United States said recent growth shows his country's troubled economy has turned the corner, but Jesus Silva-Herzog said he could provide no guarantees to potential investors now gun-shy of investing south of the border.
Silva-Herzog, who was visiting Utah for the centennial celebration, said investors should not trust Mexico at its word but look at what the country has done recently to right an economy ravaged by market panic and peso devaluation."I am not able to convince," he said. "The only thing I can do is tell you what we have done to overcome this crisis."
In particular, the ambassador said Mexican economic growth had been 3 percent this year and he expected 5 percent growth next year. He said inflation is under control, interest rates have fallen, the peso's exchange rate has stabilized, the unemployment rate has improved and the stock market has rebounded.
"The Mexican stock market has become the leading stock market in the world," he said.
Trade figures between Utah and Mexico showed a significant jump in 1994 after the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect but dropped after the economic crisis, Silva-Herzog said. Much of the trade from Utah to Mexico included machinery, metals and food products.
The ambassador, a former Mexican minister of finance and public credit and a one-time manager of the Bank of Mexico, said bilateral trade was discussed in general during his visit but that no specific projects were discussed with Utah investors. During his two-day stay in Utah, Silva-Herzog spoke to the Mexico Utah Business Council, as well as the international section of the Utah State Bar and the Centro Civico Mexicano.
He said the Mexican government had a budget surplus this year but denied the surplus was the direct or indirect result of billions of dollars loaned to Mexico by the Clinton administration to help stabilize the peso and financial markets.
In other matters, Silva-Herzog said Mexican immigration to the United States would continue to be a touchy matter between the two countries with the only viable solution being the long-term stability and prosperity of the Mexican economy.