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  • Jean Paul


In December 2018, the Program for the Development of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec was presented; the project is based on accelerating economic dynamism through an interoceanic multimodal corridor to take advantage of the geostrategic location of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and compete in world markets for the mobilization of goods through the combined use of different modes of transport. The project will involve various infrastructure and modernization works, including the modernization of the ports of Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz, the strengthening of the motorway and rural road infrastructure in the areas of Oaxaca and Veracruz, the construction of a gas pipeline to supply businesses and domestic consumers, the modernization of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec railway and, finally, the installation of a optic fiber line along the Isthmus to strengthen the digital connectivity of the region for the benefit of businesses and the surrounding communities. Panama Canal tariffs have increased by 66% from 2006 to 2012, and an average of 11% YTD, leading shipowners from the International Chamber of Shipping to express concern about the instability of tariffs, which are subject to political changes in the Central American country.

The lack of certainty and tariff increases have led Japanese and Korean businessmen to seek to invest US$18 billion in Nicaragua to build a land bridge similar to the Transisthmian, with which they hope to break the monopoly of the Panama Canal and have other crossings to stabilize prices. Faced with this rise, the world's largest shipping company, Maersk Line, has decided to suspend the transit of more than 600 vessels on its routes from Asia to the US East Coast and has changed its transits through the Suez Canal, a situation that opens up possibilities for the Transisthmian Corridor.

China has expressed great interest in cooperating in the development of infrastructure works related to the expansion of the Port of Veracruz and other projects being promoted, such as the trans-isthmus corridor. China's Ambassador to Mexico, Zeng Gang, said that Veracruz is one of Mexico's most important economies, so the business and government community of the People's Republic of China has a great interest in making strong investments in infrastructure for some of the largest seaport projects being developed there. For his part, the Norwegian Ambassador to Mexico, Arne Aasheim, said: "The trans-isthmus corridor is a project with a future, and of course there will be Norwegian interest in investing". The diplomat assured that one of the great advantages of the corridor is that it has a large part of the infrastructure already in place. In general terms, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec corridor will be an alternative for the transit of goods between Asia, America and Europe, the probability of reducing the transit of goods in the Panama Canal, it is clear that these two corridors will not be able to complement each other, on the contrary, they will be in competition, a determining aspect in this will be the passage quotas and tariffs; A competitive advantage for Mexico is that it has a network of 12 Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with 46 countries, 32 Agreements for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (APPRIs) with 33 countries and 9 agreements of limited scope (Economic Complementary Agreements and Partial Scope Agreements) within the framework of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), Mexico also participates actively in multilateral and regional organisations and forums such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and ALADI.

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