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Banking

Mexico: Can Cordero rise to the challenge?

Some see finance minister as inexperienced; Reforms face tough path through congress

Ernesto Cordero, Mexico’s new finance minister

"When Cordero came into office he had two choices – to come in guns blazing, claiming he knows everything, or quietly get himself up to speed. He took the latter route and that is good"

Ernesto Cordero, Mexico’s new finance minister, has a difficult year ahead of him. He is facing pressure from the president to push through important political, tax and labour reforms and he also needs to stabilize Mexico’s economy and try to convince sceptics that he is sufficiently experienced. Interviewed by Euromoney in late March, Cordero says: "I don’t know if I can deliver more than Mr Carstens [Agustin Carstens – the previous finance minister] but what I can deliver is solvency and stability and I think that is very important."

On December 9 president Felipe Calderón moved Carstens to head the central bank, replacing him with Cordero. The move immediately prompted a political backlash because of the close ties between Cordero and Calderón. Among the critics was former foreign minister Jorge Castañeda, who wrote soon after the appointment in the local press: "For the first time since [Luis Echeverria named José López Portillo as minister of finance in 1973] the leadership of the Hacienda [finance ministry] is in the hands of someone nominated for exclusively political motives and without the best evident technical qualifications."

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