Mexico’s Economic Freedom Index Increased by 1.2 Points in 2018

Mexico is one of the most important countries in Latin America. The center-left Institutional Revolutionary Party governed the country continuously for 70 years until being defeated by the center-right National Action Party in 2000. The PRI regained the presidency under President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose single six-year term ran through 2018. His focus was on implementing ambitious structural reforms adopted in 2013–2014. With drug-related crime rising, perennial left-wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party won by a landslide in the July 2018 presidential election. It is said that his legislative coalition faces longer odds in making radical policy shifts that would threaten macroeconomic stability, however.

According to the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, Mexico’s score is 64.8, making its economy the 63rd freest in the 2018 Index. Its overall score has increased by 1.2 points, with improvements in trade freedom, investment freedom, and fiscal health outpacing declines in business freedom and government integrity. Mexico is ranked 12th among 32 countries in the Americas region, and its overall score is above the regional and world averages.

Mexico’s $2 trillion economy has quadrupled in size since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. The government continues to emphasize economic restructuring, passing and implementing, for example, sweeping energy, financial, fiscal, and telecommunications reform legislation with the long-term aim of improving competitiveness and economic growth across the economy. Growth is constrained by lower oil production, weak oil prices, low productivity, a still-large informal sector that employs over half of the workforce, weak rule of law, and corruption.

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