US-Mexico Trade Under President Obama’s Second Term

The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute has prepared the following series on the implications of President Barack Obama’s re-election.

Christopher Wilson

Christopher E. Wilson, Associate, Mexico Institute, 11/7/2012

For businesses and investors, the re-election of President Obama provides a certain degree of assurance that positive trends in US-Mexico trade are likely to continue for the next few years and takes away at least one political risk factor (the election itself) that may have been incentivizing a wait-and-see attitude. The closeness of the election had caused worries that the results could be challenged in the courts, but the wide margin of victory by President Obama in the electoral college puts those concerns to rest.

Next up is the so-called “fiscal cliff,” but if Democrats and Republicans are able to put in place the foundation for a responsible debt deal in their handling of the issue, the groundwork would be laid for economic growth in the United States, Mexico, and bilateral trade. In terms of US-Mexico economic policy, continuity seems the most likely course, which means, for example, continued slow-but-steady progress on improving the efficiency of border management in order to allow goods to flow between manufacturers on each side of the line.

Nonetheless, the fact that there is a new government taking office in Mexico next month does present an opportunity for some big new ideas, and the transition team of President-Elect Enrique Peña Nieto has signaled it would like to put a renewed emphasis on economic issues in US-Mexico relations. Deepened US-Mexico cooperation on a global trade agenda, starting with the completion of the TPP negotiations, but with an eye toward opening the still very protected BRIC economies, could be one area ripe for progress.

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