Country Focus Data: Mexico

by Melissa Alexander
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Capital: Mexico City.

Demography: Population 100.3 million, 1.53% growth rate (2000 estimates); Spanish (official) language, indigenous languages; 89% Roman Catholic religion.

Geography: North to Central America, bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, between the U.S. to the north and Guatemala and Belize to the south. Climate varies from tropical to desert; rugged mountains, low coastal plain, high plateaus, desert.

Government: Federal republic. Chief of state and head of government is President Vicente Fox, elected in 2000.

Official agricultural agencies: Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Foodstuffs (SAGARPA) under Secretary Javier Usabiaga.

Economy: Free market with mixture of modern and traditional industry and agriculture, increasingly private-sector and trade-oriented. The number of government-owned enterprises dropped to fewer than 200 in 1999 from more than 1,000 in 1982. The transition has been rocky from time to time, and income disparities remain high. Agriculture accounted for 5% of gross domestic product in 1999.

G.D.P. per capita: U.S.$8,500 (purchasing power parity), 3.7% growth rate, 15% inflation (all 1999 estimates).

Currency: Mexican peso. March 21, 2001 exchange rate: 6.06189 pesos per U.S. dollar.

Exports: U.S.$136.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999), oil and products, silver, coffee, cotton.

Imports: U.S.$142.1 billion (f.o.b., 1999), machinery, car parts, electrical equipment, steel mill products.

Major crops/agricultural products: Maize, wheat, cotton, rice.

Wheat: Production in the past five years averaged 3.276 million tonnes a year. Imports in the same period averaged 2.325 million tonnes a year to meet total domestic use that averaged 5.236 million tonnes.

Maize: Maize output averaged 18.128 million tonnes a year in the past five years, with total use averaging 22.98 million, feed use averaging 7.8 million and imports averaging 4.8 million tonnes a year.

Transportation: Rail, 31,048 km, mostly 1.435-m gauge; highways, 323,977 km, 96,221 paved; major ports are Veracruz, Manzanillo, Ensenada, Mazatlan, Tampico.

(1,000 tonnes)

Production

Consumption

Exports

Imports

Wheat

3,300

5,350

500

2,400

Flour

2,550

n/a

n/a

n/a

Maize

18,000

24,400

0

6,000

2000-01 marketing year estimates for wheat and maize; 1998 flour.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, International Grains Council

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