Thank Obama: Mexicans paid to go to Chicago

Obama_Mexico_flag

The Trump administration has proposed eliminating several federal entities that is deems wasteful, such as the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, or USTDA, but in the meantime that is not stopping Mexican municipalities and businesses from reaping the benefits of U.S. taxpayer-funded initiatives through the agency.

Nor is it impeding Kenyan power utilities, Brazilian water companies and a Vietnamese aviation company, among other global recipients of American assistance.

While USTDA historically has claimed its efforts bolster U.S. exports while creating jobs, critics have identified the independent White House agency, despite its small budget ($80.7 million in FY 2017), as an egregious example of corporate-welfare waste.

Indeed, just last week the federal government held a get-together in Chicago in which it paid for the trips of Mexican officials and business owners to meet with U.S. providers of transportation products and services.

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A related USTDA endeavor in Mexico – known as the Definitional Mission for Surface Transportation Sector Project Opportunities in Mexico – is paying consultants to assess and possibly make recommendations to the agency on behalf of the government of Mexico.

The Mexican regulatory authority Dirección General de Fomento y Administración Portuaria, or DGFPA, is overseeing various highway, mass transit, rail and maritime-related projects.

Since at least one U.S. exporter has expressed interest in selling smart-card fare-payment and mobile ticketing systems to Mexican municipalities that want to upgrade their public bus systems, USTDA will fund a 10-day business trip to Mexico for consultants to meet with DGFPA officials.

According to contracting documents that WND located through routine database research, the agency has not yet identified the consultancy, nor has it disclosed the contract cost.

Definitional Mission, or DM, contracts typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, but if the USTDA acts on a DM recommendation for greater agency involvement, the next step is to fund a more costly technical assistance project or feasibility study, typically costing hundreds of thousands or a million dollars or more.

The DM contractor likewise will meet with World Bank and other financing institutions, plus the Instituto Mexicano del Transporte, transit authorities from the cities of Aguascalientes and Zacatecas, and representatives from Mexico’s national railroad sector.

It also was slated to travel to Chicago this past week to meet with Mexican officials and other stakeholders to examine “the financial viability, likely sources of implementation financing, U.S. export potential, foreign competition, and environmental impact related to each recommended USTDA activity.”

Bush, then Obama

Although these programs perpetuate a pattern of aid to the nation’s neighbor to the south that was typical under President Obama, the provision of U.S. assistance in such Mexican transportation infrastructure initiatives precedes Obama. Indeed, contracting records has shown that his predecessor, President George W. Bush, was equally generous in supporting Mexican modernization.

As WND reported prior to President Trump’s inauguration, Obama attempted to add achievements to his legacy such as the “greening” of Mexico City’s new multi-billion-dollar airport and the modernization of Mexican border crossings.

Prior to that, the Obama administration took its corporate-welfare road show to Mexico, funding a three-day conference that sought to subsidize U.S. industry while simultaneously helping Mexico tap into the U.S. Treasury to fund its national infrastructure plan.

Among the highlights of that “ConnectMEX” conference in Mexico City was the unveiling of a “Resource Guide for U.S. Industry on Priority Infrastructure Projects.”

The guide, which cost taxpayers $100,000 to produce, despite its title had the corollary aim of providing “an overview of the relevant financing options” the Mexican government could pursue.

WND similarly reported an Obama plan through USTDA to ensure Mexicans who stay in their country would transport goods in environmentally friendly trains.

Among such related USTDA activities under Bush was a Definitional Mission in 2006 designed to help Mexico achieve closer parity with the “strength and competitiveness” of the U.S. and Canada, its North America Free Trade Agreement partners.

USTDA at the time lamented that Mexico “suffered from lost manufacturing jobs to Asia” and was “searching for methods to regain its competitiveness.”

Other USTDA projects

Aside from its Mexican endeavors, USTDA under Trump has launched several other initiatives, including:

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from Propaganda Guard https://propguard.tumblr.com/post/162246985318
from Tumblr http://lisahcnease.tumblr.com/post/162247155157

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