Published On: Sat, May 31st, 2014

Mexico has spent $6.1 million in lobbying efforts and legal services, plus an additional $4.2 million in tourist promotion

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Mexico ranked fifth and is the only Latin American country among the 10-top countries that spent the most to push their agendas and interests in the U.S. in 2013, according to a new analysis by the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit transparency group that tracks foreign influence in the U.S.

Based on records filed with the Department of Justice, the group shows that during the first year of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration, Mexico spent $6.1 million in lobbying efforts and legal services, plus an additional $4.2 million in tourist promotion. This brings the total price tag to $9.5 million.

Most of the firms hired by the Mexican government are held over from the previous administration of Felipe Calderón, which was notorious for throwing moneyaround Washington particularly, in public relations firms to try to improve Mexico’s image abroad.

After manufacturing, oil, remittances and foreign direct investment, tourism is Mexico’s fifth source of foreign revenue, according to Citigroup Inc.’s Banamex unit. With 24 million international visitors last year, tourism generated $12.7 billion in foreign exchange inflows.

In 2013, the Mexican agencies that paid the most in lobbying were the state oil monopoly Pemex (Exploration and Production division), and the ministries of Foreign Relations, Agriculture and the Economy. Through its Tourism Board, the ministry of Tourism, traditionally the biggest spender, spent $4.5 millionin a single contract with Ogilvy Public Relations. Christopher Graves, Ogilvy’s Global CEO, did not answer an email  requesting confirmation of the contract with the Tourism Board.

In a 2013 filing, Ogilvy described its services to Mexico’s Tourism Board as providing “communications counsel on multiple projects including crafting and editing press releases, conducting media training sessions, crafting talking points, and providing daily news monitoring reports to capture relevant print, internet and broadcast coverage of Mexico within the United States.”

In June 2013, Claudia Ruíz Massieu, the Mexican Minister of Tourism, granted an exclusive interview to Bloomberg in New York in which she predicted that by 2018 tourism will jump to Mexico’s No. 3 cash source.

Through the Mexican Embassy in Washington, the Ministry of Foreign Relations hired lobbyists and law firms to focus primarily in efforts to force states like Texas to comply with the 2004 UN International Court of Justice’s ruling to review the death sentences of 50 Mexican nationals due to violations of the Vienna Convention. But so far Mexico has been unsuccessful in stopping any executions. In Texas alone, the most active state in capital punishment, three Mexicans have been executed since the ICJ’s ruling.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, the following are the 10-top countries that spent the most in lobbying in 2013:

  1. United Arab Emirates, $14.1 million
  2. Germany, $12 million
  3. Canada, $11.2 million
  4. Saudi Arabia, $11.2 million
  5. Mexico, $6.1 million (plus $4.5 million in PR)  Morocco $4 million
  6. South Korea $3.9 million
  7. Republika Srpska $2.3 million
  8. Georgia $2.3 million
  9. Azerbaijan $2.2 million

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/doliaestevez/2014/05/29/mexico-is-among-the-top-10-countries-paying-washington-lobbyists/#

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