Health of nations

Mexico currently has a broad and dynamic international presence. The process of change in the global economic system has increased financial and commercial ties between countries, leading to growing interdependence.

Mexico’s economic development nowadays depends largely on the income generated by international trade, foreign investment and tourism, which in turn depend upon the state of the world economy.

International trade is one of the main engines of economic growth in Mexico. One third of our national products is made up of exports, and a significant proportion of highly paid, high productivity jobs with good working conditions are directly and indirectly linked to sales abroad. Indeed, Mexico has been the eighth largest exporter in the world for several years.

We have engaged in a series of negotiations of regional and bilateral trade agreements in the past ten years because of the potential for development that they offer. We now have 11 bilateral and regional trade agreements with 42 countries in three continents; and we have just concluded negotiations for another one, with Japan.

Positioning Mexico in the global economy is not an end in itself, but a means with which to promote the sustained socioeconomic development of our country.

Trade and investment go hand in hand. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown significantly in recent years: from an average of about US$3.5 billion per year at the beginning of the 1990s to an average of $12 billion per annum. This inflow of foreign resources has been attracted by the prospect of healthy profits, a high-quality labour force and a stable macroeconomic climate. In fact, Mexico ranked as the world’s third largest recipient of FDI in 2003, and first in Latin America.

Furthermore, Mexico has actively promoted multilateral co-operation. In March 2002, we hosted the International Conference on Financing for Development where trade and investment, together with official development assistance, were core issues. We have been able to combine our commitments under bilateral and regional agreements with the principles of multilateralism. Open regionalism has been one of the key principles that Mexico follows and practises in all our trade negotiations.

Indeed, at the Fifth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial that we hosted in Cancún in 2003, Mexico played a lead role in bridging differences among WTO members in several key issues. We will continue to work towards the completion of the Doha Development Agenda.

Our position is simple: the success of the Doha depends upon the compromise and commitment of all WTO members. Nor will there be a long lasting solution to international trade practices outside the WTO. Bilateralism is not a substitute for multilateralism, even if it complements it. We are at a crossroads in multilateral trade negotiations. Our nations, our people, are urging us to take the proper steps in the right direction.

Mexico's development agenda for the 21st century also comprises the new challenges posed by healthcare. As recently as in April, Mexico hosted an International Conference on Innovation to Health Financing. Health, as well as education, human rights protection, environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation, are the key priorities of our government.

The health of our citizens is not only an ethical responsibility, but also a central component for the development of human capital, to increase productivity and economic growth. It has a strategic dimension in terms of social equity as well.

Less than two years ago, Mexico passed amendments to the law on public health which created a health Social Protection System. Its key element is a new health insurance programme for our people. Before this reform, over 57% of Mexicans lay outside the formal health system and had to finance their own health needs. This was especially harsh on the poor.

With the new social protection system, it is expected that by 2006, five million Mexican families will benefit from the programme. By then, all citizens will have universal access to the system. The SPS is financed mostly by federal fiscal resources, as well as by the states and individuals. By halting the vicious circle of poverty-diseases-poverty, the Mexican government is fulfilling its responsibility of financial protection for the health of its citizens.

Healthy nations depend on healthy citizens. Governments should make every effort to reach this goal. The 2004 OECD Forum is an invaluable occasion to discuss some of the challenges. Such dialogue is important so we can improve the health of our nations and the health of the world.

*Mexico is chairing the 2004 OECD Ministerial Council on 13-14 May and will be actively participating in the OECD Forum on 12-13 May.

©OECD Observer No 243, May 2004




Economic data

E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • How do the largest community of British expats living in Spain feel about Brexit? Britons living in Orihuela Costa, Alicante give their views.
  • Brexit is taking up Europe's energy and focus, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Watch video.
  • OECD Chief Economist Catherine Mann and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King discuss the economic merits of a US border adjustment tax and the outlook for US economic growth.
  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa. blogs.worldbank.org
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at www.oecd.org/careers .

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2017