Mexico, Latin America's third largest country with a land area of nearly 2 million km2, is the region's leading oil and gas producer and is well endowed with minerals and other natural resources. Most Mexicans are mestizos of mixed European and Indian heritage; there are also Mexicans of pure European or Indian ancestry. 1
Mexico's president, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, has emphasized a free-market approach that has opened up the economy to foreign and private participation. Numerous state-run industries, including banking and telecommunications, have been privatized. The GDP growth was estimated to be 0.4 percent in 1993, down from 2.6 percent in 1992 and 3.7 percent in 1991. However, the inflation rate has decreased from 15.5 percent in 1992 and 22.7 percent in 1991, to 10.0 percent in 1993. 2 Mexico's economy is dependent on the United States for trade and investment. Over 70 percent of Mexico's exports goes to its northern neighbor, and Mexico is now the United States' third most important trading partner, after Canada and Japan. The trade and investment relationship between Mexico and the United States will be enhanced following the ratification and implementation of NAFTA.
Mexico has had substantial success in restructuring its economy to reduce dependence on exports of primary resources, including oil, which accounted for only 18 percent of export value in 1992, down from 33 percent in 1990. In recent years, sales of textiles, cement, beer, and auto parts to the United States have risen dramatically.
Mexico is the region's largest primary energy producer, though both its oil and gas reserves are second to those of Venezuela. In 1991, Mexico produced 4.1 million hoe/d of primary energy. The increase from 3.6 million hoe/d in 1980