Trump wants to restrict trade and immigration. Here’s why he can’t do both.

9/11/2017 The Washington Post

Recently, trade negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico concluded the first round of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. President Trump has made clear that he wants a deal that cuts the U.S. trade deficit— and brings manufacturing jobs back to the United States. Trump also threatened to withdraw from the South Korea-U.S. free-trade agreement (KORUS), citing unfair trade practices and a desire to bring home U.S. jobs.

At the same time, Trump is supporting the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act (Raise Act), which would cut legal immigration by 50 percent. And he announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which could mean the deportation of about 690,000 “dreamers” — immigrants who came into the country illegally as children.

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You Won’t Like Mexico When It’s Angry

09/11/2017 Politico

President Trump’s insults are pushing the Mexican political system into dangerous territory.

In his landmark 1985 book, Distant Neighbors, Alan Riding, then the New York Times’ Mexico City correspondent, wrote that the Mexican president, in the days of the one-party state, was all powerful except for two things he could never do: 1) reelect himself (there’s a constitutional one-term limit for Mexican presidents) and 2) bring Mexico closer to the United States.

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New Publication | Building on Early Success: Next Steps in U.S.-Mexico Educational Cooperation

By Angela Robertson and Duncan Wood

USA and MexicoLaunched in 2014, the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research (FOBESII) seeks to “expand opportunities for educational exchanges, scientific research partnerships, and cross-border innovation to help both countries develop a 21st century workforce for both our mutual economic prosperity and sustainable social development.” It aims to promote binational cooperation in higher education and research, especially regarding important areas for innovation in the United States and Mexico, by promoting programs for student mobility, academic exchange, research, and innovation in areas of common interest to contribute to the competitiveness of the region.

Cultural and educational exchanges help to create connections between the people and institutions of the United States and Mexico via exchange programs, scholarships, grants, and joint research.  Increasing educational exchanges and strengthening workforce development and innovation, particularly in STEM areas, will allow the United States and Mexico, and North America as a whole, to compete in global markets. Thus, FOBESII has the potential to build a more prosperous future for both the United States and Mexico.

Nonetheless, this short paper argues that, while FOBESII has done much to expand educational exchanges, increase joint research, and promote innovation, it has yet to achieve its stated goals and continues to face serious challenges. We argue that to overcome these challenges, future initiatives must focus on advancing private sector engagement, workforce development, and improving public communication and outreach. FOBESII continues to be a relevant and important initiative, but it is in urgent need of restructuring and redirection if it is to make a significant contribution to bilateral affairs and regional competitiveness.

Read the paper…

[VIDEO] Renegotiating NAFTA Round Two

After what has been described as a tough round one in Washington, the process of renegotiating NAFTA is set to move to Mexico for round two. Beyond the negotiating table, President Trump continues to suggest that he may choose to withdraw from the agreement all together. Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood summarizes the state of the negotiations and provides analysis on what we can expect next. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.

Guest

Duncan Wood, Director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, is a “North American citizen,” lecturing and publishing widely in the United States, Mexico and Canada on intracontinental issues and relations, with a primary focus on U.S.-Mexican ties. A widely-quoted authority on energy policy, international banking regulation and corruption, he works closely with the World Economic Forum and leverages decades of experience at Mexico’s leading universities and newspapers.

Host
John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming. Previously he served as host and producer of Dialogue at the Wilson Center and Close Up on C-SPAN. He also teaches a course on politics and media for Penn State’s Washington Program.

A Message from the Director: Announcing our 2018 Mexico Elections Guide

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Every six years, Mexicans go to the polls to pick a new President and a new Congress. The country’s democratic transition, though still far from complete, has made impressive strides since the 1980s, and competitive elections and political alternation have become institutions firmly embedded in political culture. Elections give voters the opportunity to choose the individuals and the party that will rule Mexico for the next six years, and since 1997, those voters have shown a deep dissatisfaction with incumbents. During this period, the country experienced a shift from PRI-ista hegemony to divided government in 1997, to successive PAN presidential victories, the second of which was heavily disputed and then, in 2012, a return to PRI control of the presidency and the Congress. Mexicans exercise their democratic rights on a regular basis, and they do so effectively. Though the democratic system is far from perfect, elections matter in Mexico. They are relatively free and fair, determine outcomes, and allow the citizenry to express both their discontent and their preferences.

It thus gives us great pleasure to introduce The Mexico Institute’s 2018 Elections Guide. Since 2012, the Mexico Institute has provided comprehensive coverage of Mexico’s presidential and congressional elections, by curating news articles and opinion polls online, and by soliciting and publishing unique content from our extensive network of analysts and experts. This archived material will now be joined by our coverage of the July 2018 election: we will provide information and analysis of the campaigns and the personalities that will compete to rule Mexico for the next six years. Over the next 11 months, we will track the parties and candidates, as well as the most important issues, domestic and foreign, which will determine voter preferences.

In addition to the content posted on this blog, the Mexico Institute hopes to host the leading candidates as they lay out their ideas and policies. These events will be presented live online as webcasts and will be archived for future reference. We intend to live up to our commitment to non-partisanship and public education by ensuring that all candidates and parties engage in robust dialogue with our audience. To further this, we will be asking you to inform our work with your questions and concerns.

Thank you for following this blog and for supporting our work. The vote that will take place on Sunday, July 1, 2018 presents Mexico with divergent visions of the future, and our staff and experts will provide detailed and impartial information and analysis to help steer you through what promises to be a complex and keenly contested election.

We hope you enjoy the new resource.

Sincerely,

Duncan Wood

Visit the Mexico Institute’s 2018 Elections Guide

The Sprint to Revise NAFTA Has Millions of Jobs on the Line

8/21/2017 The Hill

By Earl Anthony Wayne, Global Fellow & Advisory Board Member, Mexico Institute

Modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is beginning with a “sprint.” The three governments have agreed to an accelerated set of negotiating rounds to see if they can forge an updated arrangement for trade between Mexico, Canada and the United States by early 2018. It will be a tough dash, with immensely important stakes.

The early “sprint” is because Mexico’s July 2018 presidential and congressional elections close the political window for approval of an agreement in Mexico by early 2018. Delay will prolong the uncertainty, including on what positions a new Mexican team might take. If the “sprint” does not work, the negotiations will shift to a jog, until after a new Mexican president enters office in December 2018.

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Protecting Mexico’s Energy Reforms

8/14/2017 RealClear World

By Duncan Wood

When President Salinas Gortari signed the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement for Mexico in 1992, he provided certainty and stability for investors hoping to benefit from Mexico’s emerging manufacturing base. The trade deal locked in the benefits of domestic economic reforms and liberalization introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The steady flow of foreign investment that followed turned Mexico into a manufacturing powerhouse.

When negotiators from Mexico, Canada, and the United States start talks on Wednesday to renegotiate aspects of the 23-year-old agreement, they too hope to lock in recently won gains in Mexico that are of enormous interest to all parties. One priority must be to defend hard-won reforms in Mexico’s energy sector — reforms meant to change a sector that was closed and monopolistic for 75 years. Since U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, a broad-based movement has emerged that aims to defend two decades of free trade in the region and to insist on the urgency of “doing no harm” during renegotiation. NAFTA’s defenders have managed to influence a change in language: Where commentators once spoke of renegotiating a pact Trump characterized as the worst trade deal signed by the United States, the negotiations are now widely framed as an opportunity to modernize a venerable trade deal so that it more accurately reflects the needs and priorities of the 21st century economy.

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