Twenty years after NAFTA, a mini Detroit rises in Mexico

September 29, 2014

09/25/14 Bridge

iStock_000008876270Medium“The auto industry in Mexico is just booming, it’s taking off right now and it´s probably the industry in which Mexico is the most competitive,” said Christopher Wilson, a senior associate with the Mexico Center at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Wilson and others say Mexico’s ascension is a combination of low labor costs, a shift to an export-based economy in which 80 percent of vehicles produced in Mexico go to the powerful U.S. market, a well-defined NAFTA corridor, and modern factories that are more efficient and safe. An influx of banks has provided workers with greater access to credit.

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Op-ed: Use Brains, not Brawn, to Handle Migrant Crisis

July 14, 2014

By Christopher Wilson and Eric L. Olson

The Hill, 7/14/14

FBchildren-northern-mexico-credit-kelly-donlan2The huge wave of families and unaccompanied children arriving in South Texas from Central America has ignited a debate on how to best dissuade the influx.

Many have proposed managing the problem at the border by beefing up the Border Patrol with more agents. Some have even called for the National Guard to be sent in as a stopgap measure. A case could be made for modest staffing increases to the Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley, where the number of overall unauthorized migrant apprehensions has more than doubled since 2011, but it is important to note that adding more boots on the ground would do little or nothing to stem the flow of children across the border.  The real solutions lie in addressing the push factors in the source countries.

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Op-Ed: Hello 2014: For Mexico, the hard work starts now

January 3, 2014

Mexican Flag XXLBy Duncan Wood and Christopher Wilson

FT Beyondbrics, 1/3/2014

We will look back on 2013 as a truly historic year for Mexico. The scale of the reform process that was undertaken and largely achieved by President Enrique Peña Nieto is astonishing by comparison not only with other countries around the world today, but also in the context of recent Mexican history. For 15 years Mexico had seemed condemned to endure one of the less palatable elements of democratic systems, legislative gridlock. However President Peña Nieto, through a combination of determination, hard bargaining and political skill, has managed to work with the congress to pass a series of major reforms that do much to put Mexico on the road to modernity and competitiveness.

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Op-Ed: NAFTA and Open Regionalism

January 2, 2014

120px-North_America_(orthographic_projection).svgBy Christopher Wilson and Duncan Wood

Excelsior, 1/2/2014

With the North American Free Trade Agreement completing 20 years, it is a good moment to reflect and look toward the region’s future and its place in the world economy.

It is important to recognize that NAFTA was a first-generation free trade agreement, originally conceived in the 1980s, and for that reason it was very limited.

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HuffPost Live: The Future of Cross-Border Relations

May 29, 2013

John Moore - Getty ImagesThe Mexico Institute’s Christopher Wilson joined San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and others on ‘HuffPost Live’ to discuss cross-border cooperation.

Watch here: http://bit.ly/USMXborder


Trusted Traveler Programs Are a No Brainer – The Expert Take

May 1, 2013

shutterstock_70763086By Christopher Wilson, 5/1/2013

As President Obama heads to Mexico to meet with his counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, bilateral economic ties are deeper and more massive than ever. In fact, in 2012 the volume of bilateral trade grew to the point that our countries trade a million dollars in goods and services every minute.1 With almost 80 percent of all bilateral merchandise trade crossing the land border, making sure the border is both secure and efficient is more important than ever.

Unfortunately, long lineups to cross the border currently cost the economies of the United States and Mexico billions of dollars each year in lost economic growth and eat away at the competitiveness of manufacturers working in the region. To eliminate the border bottleneck, investments in border infrastructure and staffing are important and necessary, but they are not cheap. One tried and true solution, however, is especially cost effective.

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Weekly News Summary: April 12th

April 12, 2013

Coffee by Flikr user samrevelThe Mexico Institute’s “Weekly News Summary,” released every Friday afternoon summarizes the week’s most prominent Mexico headlines published in the English-language press, as well as the most engaging opinion pieces by Mexican columnists.

What the English-language press had to say…

Last Friday, some 2,000 teachers protesting the education reforms proposed by the Peña Nieto administration blocked the highway between Mexico City and Acapulco for several hours. Federal policemen forced them off the roads, but future clashes are likely. Mexican officials announced homicide rates are down about 14% compared to the same period last year. Media outlets including the Los Angeles Times remained highly skeptical of such claims, and directed attention to the growing vigilante crisis affecting parts of the country, as well as the violence suffered by journalists covering organized crime.

Optimistic news pieces, however, continued to surface. Real Clear Politics referred to Mexico as a “stable, politically diverse neighbor.” American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies remarked that while “Brazil was everyone’s favorite two years ago, Mexico is now being hailed as a hot performer.” And in an article for The New York Times, Eduardo Porter argued Mexico’s austerity experience following the 1982 financial crisis holds lessons for struggling European nations today.

On Wednesday, thousands of people gathered outside the U.S. Capitol and across the United States in support of immigration reform. A bipartisan bill led by eight senators – which Politico reports may be released next Tuesday – will define ‘border security’ as “100% awareness of when people cross the most trafficked sections of the Southwest border,” as well as the ability to stop 90% of unauthorized traffic. In an op-ed for The Dallas Morning News, the Mexico Institute’s Christopher Wilson argued that more attention should be placed on the “staffing, infrastructure and technology needs of ports of entry themselves” in order to secure the border and enhance America’s economic competitiveness. A conservative think-tank released a study arguing immigration reform would boost economic growth and reduce the federal deficit.

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