A Conversation with Arturo Herrera Gutiérrez, Mexico's Secretary of Finance and Public Credit | Wilson Center
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A Conversation with Arturo Herrera Gutiérrez, Mexico's Secretary of Finance and Public Credit

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The Wilson Center's Mexico Institute was pleased to host a conversation with Arturo Herrera Gutiérrez, Mexico's Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, on fiscal policy, labor reforms, and economic development in Mexico.

Arturo Herrera Gutiérrez was appointed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador as the Secretary of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) in July 2019. He previously served as Undersecretary of Finance and Public Credit and was in charge of the Under-secretariat of Revenue. In his professional career, he has held positions in the World Bank, leading several initiatives aimed at improving the performance of the public sector in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as other diverse positions in private banks, the Government of Mexico City, and the Secretary of Finance and Public Credit. He has also been involved in the academic field, teaching courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics at Colegio de México and courses in monetary policy at New York University. He has a degree in Economics from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Unidad Iztapalapa, a master's in Economics from Colegio de México, and completed his doctoral studies in Economics at New York University.

Selected Quotes

 

“We are also dealing with a nasty phase of tax administration; we are dealing with some of the measures. So, we were having a series of frauds in tax invoicing—but massive. The increasing in value added tax returns increased twofold between 2014 and 2017, and the economy did not increase twice as much. So, a lot of those were actually frauds by what we call ‘ghost firms.’ So, first of all, we are making it a crime to engage in this kind of issue. We are changing that, we are auditing that, and we are increasing the penalties along the chain. This has been heavily debated in Mexico in these days …"

“We certainly have been asked to do more. I would like to think we haven’t reached a point in which we are asked to do more than what we do, right? I mean, the president is very public that he is actually working on Saturday and Sunday, and he makes sure to call us on Saturday and Sunday and ask for information.”

“There’s one thing I’m really concerned about; that while this may be normal in normal times, we aren’t living in normal times. We are in a worldwide slowdown, and one of the big lessons of the financial crisis, of the Great Recession, is that in a slowdown, governors need to be more active and start to push faster expenses to try and mitigate the risk of a downward part of the cycle. And that’s what keeps me awake at night—how to make sure are doing that.”

“When we compare our current situation with 2008/2009 situation, we are on the opposite side. Very few people saw the financial crisis coming, but the governments were ready to coordinate the response. What is happening now is, as everybody is observing a slowdown, but when you look across the world there’s very little appetite to for coordination and, actually, there’s a lot of conflict.”

“I think we have to be very disciplined in how we tackle some these issues. When I think about the challenges about corruption in Mexico, I tend to think about in three different levels. One which is very important is what we’d call here in the United States, ‘Leading by example.”… The second dimension is you need systems to manage the government … The third issue is that corruption does not happen in abstract; corruption happens in very specific sectors, and it’s required to really understand those sectors.”

 

Introduction
Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Speaker
Arturo Herrera Gutiérrez
Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, Mexico

Moderator
Earl Anthony Wayne
Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico;
Public Policy Fellow & Advisory Board Co-Chair, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center