By Enrique Peña Nieto
President of Mexico

Given the current high volatility of the financial markets, the uncertainty of monetary policies in some countries, and the persistent low prices of certain commodities, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members are facing a complicated economic environment. For the next three years, according to World Bank projections, the global economy will grow by just 3.1% annually. At this rate, we would not create the required amount of quality jobs to build more inclusive societies.

We must continue to intensify our efforts in promoting trade and investment liberalization, as well as business facilitation. Together, our economies account for 54% of the world’s GDP and 44% of global trade. Therefore, the decisions and agreements we reach at Manila would be crucial to drive growth worldwide.

Mexico is firmly committed to working along with its partners of the Asia Pacific region for achieving the APEC priorities of this year and lay the foundations for a sustainable and quality growth. We have to build inclusive economies, particularly supporting human capital development, encouraging the participation of small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) in global markets, and enhancing the regional economic integration agenda.

To better harness Mexican human capital, we passed a major reform to increase and assure the quality of education. The schools are now at the center of the system and we strengthen their management while fostering parent’s participation. Moreover, the recently created Certificates of National School Infrastructure will allow us to invest approximately 3 billion dollars in the next 3 years to improve school facilities.

In addition, we have launched a teaching professional service because we know the key role of teachers in providing a higher quality education. This mechanism creates a new set of positive incentives for them, so they can continue to develop their careers. We have also established new performance standards, with a required training program for the teachers to reach them.

Achieving effective integration of SMEs into the global market is a key priority for my administration. In this purpose, we are facilitating the access to private banking funding for young entrepreneurs. If they are interested in opening a new business, they are eligible to benefit from the Young Credit Program, which will back them up to get credit up to $9,000. If what they need is to consolidate an already existing company, this credit can increase to $150,000.

At the same time, we are working to provide access to foreign markets for SMEs all across the country, particularly those in lagging areas. To accomplish this commitment, I sent to Congress an initiative to create Special Economic Zones (SEZs). This measure includes policies such as one-stop shops for investors, fiscal incentives, and special customs regimes.

Over the last 30 years, Mexico has made an impressive transition to become one of the most open countries in the world. We have a network of 11 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 46 countries, which grant us preferential access to a market equivalent to 60% of world’s GDP, 55% of global trade, and more than a billion of potential consumers.

We actively participated in the recent negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which is, by far, the most ambitious agreement after the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The TPP contains mechanisms and topics of new generation, such as disciplines to improve regulatory coherence, as well as regulating state-owned enterprises and fostering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) integration to export activities. In sum, this partnership strengthens Mexico’s commitment to free trade.

Mexico will be a proactive stakeholder in 2015 APEC Leaders' Meeting and CEO Summit, and is willing to share its experiences with its fellow partners. I call upon the APEC leaders to pledge the Renewed Agenda for Structural Reform and undertake specific actions to stimulate inclusive growth and development. Together, we can build the path to achieve more inclusive economies and a better world for all.

Manila Bulletin