Fox: ‘You cannot run an economy through executive order’

Introducing sister publication Infrastructure Investor’s Emerging Markets Forum on Monday in Berlin, the former Mexican leader was critical of Donald Trump’s policies and said Mexico’s energy reforms are an example of how to open a market closed to private investment.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox branded Donald Trump a “false prophet with false ideas”, warning that “you cannot run an economy through executive order”, as he urged the world to reject the rising wave of populism.

Delivering the opening keynote address at sister publication Infrastructure Investor’s Emerging Markets Forum in Berlin on Monday, the engineer of Mexico’s economic renaissance between 2000 and 2006 said Trump’s policies are not sustainable in a market where the Latin American country continues to close the gap with its Northern neighbour.

“The change to democracy has been very fruitful. Mexico is not taking jobs away from the United States. It will not be worth jumping the wall.”

In a passionate criticism of Trump and the emergence of populism, Fox added that Mexico has learnt the hard way that nationalism is unworkable and that the wider Latin American region has seen exponential growth since it embraced democracy towards the end of the last century. Trump’s policies to cut tax rates by half are those of a “demagogue”, he noted.

Fox also warned UK Prime Minister Theresa May that she was making a “big, big mistake” by warming to Donald Trump’s government. Brexit “will not work”, he said. In a thinly veiled criticism of both leaders, Fox argued that “those who think they can hide behind walls and build a competitive economy” are pursuing the wrong policies.

He pointed to Mexico’s recent energy reforms as an example of how to open a market closed to private investment for over 70 years so as to make it an engine of competitiveness for the country.

“The private sector will be a much better manager than the government has been, I’m convinced it will happen,” Fox promised. “The private sector should be in the front seat and balance out all the mistakes committed in government.”