In the last third of the six-year term, the López Obrador government foreshadows an industrial policy.
It is not yet a defined policy. It is, as its presentation says, a strategy “Towards an Industrial Policy”.
It is basically the intention of the government, through the Ministry of Economy headed by Tatiana Clouthier, in coordination with the industrialists, to outline an industrial policy.
Better late than never! For the profile of the current government, which has declared itself openly nationalist, it was very difficult to explain why it did not have a policy of promoting and supporting national industrialists.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has repeatedly criticized neoliberal governments because at the time they declared that the best industrial policy was not to have an industrial policy.
The phrase, it must be remembered, was made by the then Secretary of Commerce and Industrial Development, Jaime Serra Puche, who was later the ephemeral Secretary of Finance and Public Credit.
Serra made such a statement in the context of the negotiation and signing of the Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the version prior to the current T-MEC signed by the López Obrador government.
Certainly, there were many years without an industrial policy. The intention to achieve greater national integration in production, destined for export, remained in that, an intention.
The industrialists had to navigate without an industrial policy.
For this reason, when the current government began, high expectations were created due to the possibility that now, action would be taken on the matter.
But nothing happened. Two-thirds of the government that has confronted and continues to confront foreign investors has elapsed, without the industrialists having a roadmap, much less incentives of any kind.
In the explanation of the Ministry of Economy, of the document Heading for an Industrial Policy, from the outset, it critically refers to the argument of the neoliberal governments and underlines that the adverse results of such an affirmation demonstrate the need for a change of route.
Two years after the six-year term ends, Clouthier presented the strategy. It is a very general outline and without fiscal incentives.
They were not included in the 2023 Economic Package. They are still under discussion, declared the Undersecretary of the Treasury, Gabriel Yorio.
The document presented does not specifically include what type of tax incentives are being requested.
Although the official supported the announcement of the Ministry of Economy, he did not specify when they will be approved.
However, he did say that they will be focused on trying to generate or increase the profitability of investments, provided that they are made in a strategic sector identified by industrial policy.
The “Towards an Industrial Policy” strategy is focused on five key sectors: agribusiness, electronics, electromobility, medical and pharmaceutical services, and creative industries and has 4 key lines: digital innovation and technological-scientific trends; training of human capital for new trends; promotion of regional content and chaining for MSMEs; and sustainable and sustainable industries.
The main purpose is to create an industrial model that generates inclusive economic growth.
Concamin president José Abugaber is very enthusiastic about the strategy, but warns that fiscal incentives are required.
No one can disagree. Mexico needs an industrial policy that promotes and supports production chains, national and regional content, innovation, and capital formation.
It remains to be seen if the President of the Republic gives his consent for the necessary tax incentives to be allocated.
The context is propitious: the confrontation between the United States and China; the relocation caused by the pandemic, the confinement and the disruption of supply chains; the ratification of the T-MEC and the enormous progress achieved by different productive sectors by virtue of the validity of the trade agreement.
What is lacking? Political will of the Chief Executive and, above all, an energy policy that really favors an open and competitive market in which national and international investments converge and the congruence between the discourse of friendship with our commercial partners and the respective actions that support it. Let’s see.
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