U.S.-Mexico: The Real ‘Deal’ Must Include Great Projects
June 10, 2019 (EIRNS)—The question of whether the U.S.-Mexico agreement, reached this past weekend, includes any U.S. investment commitment to the Mexico/Central America development plan, remains open. The agreement itself has elements not yet publicly discussed. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard clearly asked the United States to “speed up” $5.8 billion in project investment which was in some way committed last year, and the response of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security officials is unknown. Mexico wants an additional $10 billion in investments guaranteed, presumably by the USAID development bank under Pompeo’s purview; however, Ebrard answered media questions to the effect that this was not brought up at all during last week’s meetings.
EIR attended a meeting at Rice University bearing on this question, in regard to the North American Development Bank (NADB), which was created by an addendum to the original NAFTA trade agreement, and which has had a maximum authorized capitalization of only $3 billion. Officials of the NADB spoke hopefully of possible action from Congress and the White House to get cross-border infrastructure project investment going.
Aside from that discussion, bills to expand the NADB exist in the 116th Congress in both the House (H.R.132) and Senate (S.267), both named the North American Development Bank Improvement Act of 2019. The Senate bill, with just two sponsors last session, now has six; the House companion bill has eight bipartisan sponsors from the Texas delegation. The NADB would make an obvious vehicle for joint U.S.-Mexico credit for investment in the development plan Mexico is proposing. A source in Congress said the aim of these sponsors, though still under discussion, is to “improve” the NADB to at least $10 billion in total capital authorization, including capital “on call” from both Washington and Mexico City.