After the Storm in U.S.-Mexico Relations

3/31/2017 The Wilson Quarterly

Articles by Duncan Wood, Christopher Wilson, Andrew Selee, Eric L. Olson, Earl Anthony Wayne & Arturo Sarukhan

The relationship between Mexico and the United States is facing its most severe test in decades. Although a new tone and new ideas are needed, the economic, political, and security fundamentals matter more than ever.

Browse the full Winter 2017 issue of Wilson Quarterly here…

Leveraging the U.S.-Mexico Relationship to Strengthen Our Economies, by Christopher Wilson

A New Migration Agenda Between the United States and Mexico, by Andrew Selee

The Merida Initiative and Shared Responsibility in U.S.-Mexico Security Relations, by Eric L. Olson

U.S.-Mexico Energy and Climate Collaboration, by Duncan Wood

Toward a North American Foreign Policy Footprint, by Earl Anthony Wayne & Arturo Sarukhan

 

[Video] Charting a New Course Part 1: U.S.-Mexico Economic Interdependence

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute has released a series of new essays covering a range of important bilateral issues. We kick off our companion video series, “Charting a New Course,” with a focus on economic interdependence. Mexico Institute Deputy Director, Chris Wilson provides an overview of the scope and depth of U.S.-Mexico economic cooperation and also talks about what can be done to make the alliance stronger. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.

Watch the video…

5 Ways Trump Could Improve NAFTA

1/23/2017 Forbes, Mexico Institute Blog

trump-inaugurationBy Christopher Wilson, Deputy Director, Mexico Institute

President Trump’s road to victory was built on a promise to fight on behalf of the American worker to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States. Rightly or wrongly, Donald Trump and many other Americans put much of the blame for the immense challenges being faced by the working class on NAFTA and other free trade agreements.

The newly updated White House website states, “President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA.” However, “if our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA.” Media reports suggest an executive order for a NAFTA renegotiation may be imminent.

An outright withdrawal from NAFTA would be incredibly costly. A Wilson Center study recently found that nearly five million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico, and a good number of them would be put at risk were the agreement to be scrapped. At this point, U.S. and Mexican companies have invested many billions of dollars in each other’s economies to build up a globally competitive regional manufacturing platform upon which cars and other products are jointly manufactured with parts and materials from suppliers dispersed across the continent.

Renegotiation, on the other hand, could be beneficial if the political minefield along the way to its completion can be successfully navigated. Realistically, there are no changes to NAFTA that can stop the slow decline of manufacturing employment in the United States, which is caused much more by automation and technological advance than anything else. But, as an agreement negotiated a quarter-century ago, there is plenty of space for the Trump administration to propose an update to NAFTA that would favor U.S. workers and competitiveness.

Read more…

Trump to Announce Plans for Renegotiation of NAFTA: Five Ways to Improve the Agreement

1/23/2017 Mexico Institute Forbes Blog

trump-inaugurationPresident Trump’s road to victory was built on a promise to fight on behalf of the American worker to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States. Rightly or wrongly, Donald Trump and many other Americans put much of the blame for the immense challenges being faced by the working class on NAFTA and other free trade agreements.

The newly updated White House website states, “President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA.” However, “if our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA.” Media reports suggest an executive order for a NAFTA renegotiation may be imminent.

An outright withdrawal from NAFTA would be incredibly costly. A Wilson Center study recently found that nearly five million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico, and a good number of them would be put at risk were the agreement to be scrapped. At this point, U.S. and Mexican companies have invested many billions of dollars in each other’s economies to build up a globally competitive regional manufacturing platform upon which cars and other products are jointly manufactured with parts and materials from suppliers dispersed across the continent.

Read more…

NEW PUBLICATION | Growing Together: How Trade with Mexico Impacts Employment in the United States

growing-together-employment-sectionBy Christopher Wilson

Read the essay

The United States and Mexico trade over a half-trillion dollars in goods and services each year, which amounts to more than a million dollars in bilateral commerce every minute.  With such a large volume of trade, it is not hard to believe that the number of jobs that depend on the bilateral relationship is similarly impressive. New research by the Mexico Institute shows precisely that: nearly five million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico.

The study shows that if trade between the United States and Mexico were halted, 4.9 million Americans from across the country would be out of work.

This essay analyzes the employment impact of bilateral trade on the U.S. economy. Read the essay here.

Key Findings

  • Nearly five million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico… Our model shows that if trade between the United States and Mexico were halted, 4.9 million Americans would be out of work.
  • Many times, it is the availability of cost-efficient inputs that allows U.S. companies to stay competitive enough to fend off competitors from outside the region and to grow exports in the face of fierce global competition. In this way, not just exports but also imports from Mexico help support jobs in U.S. industry.
  • The auto industry, which is probably the single most integrated regional industry, is a perfect example of the benefits of trade integration. Without the availability of nearby Mexican plants to do the final assembly of light vehicles, it is quite possible that the vast U.S. parts producing network for these vehicles would migrate to someplace outside of the continent.
  • Misperception and scapegoating has certainly played a role in creating the current negative political environment around trade…but so has the very real failure of U.S. policymakers to adequately address the challenges facing middle-class Americans.

This essay is part of our project Growing Together: Economic Ties between the United States and Mexico, which explores the bilateral relationship in detail to understand its nature and its impact on the United States. Throughout the fall of 2016, the Mexico Institute will release the findings of our research on our website and social media, using the hashtag #USMXEcon.

Read the essay

Drug-Smuggling Tunnel, Found in San Diego, Is Longest Yet

4/21/2016 The New York Times

For all the talk about a wall between the United States and Mexico, the problem with border security continues to be as much below ground as above. On Wednesday, officials in San Diego announced the discovery of another cross-border tunnel built by drug smugglers — the longest one found yet, at about half a mile.

The tunnel had rails, lighting, ventilation and even a large elevator leading to a closet in a modest house in Tijuana, United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy said. On the San Diego side, where the tunnel emerged in an industrial park in the Otay Mesa neighborhood, the authorities arrested and charged six people last week and confiscated more than a ton of cocaine and seven tons of marijuana that they said had been smuggled through the passage — the largest drug seizure associated with a tunnel….

[…]“A package of cocaine or heroin is much easier to move and hide than a person, and the profit it represents is far greater,” said Christopher Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a policy research group. “Working with terrorists would bring a huge amount heat on the cartels, and that’s bad for business.”

Read more…

From Obstacle to Asset: Re-envisioning the U.S.-Mexico Border

4/19/2016 Forbes

By Christopher Wilson and Erik Lee

forbesThe U.S.-Mexico border has yet again made an appearance in the political theater of the U.S. presidential campaign, starring in its traditional supporting role as a stock villain character. Though the political dialogue sounds like a re-reading of a script written in the 1990s or early 2000s when Mexican migration peaked, the discussion on the ground in most—but not all—U.S.-Mexico border communities long ago moved on to regional economic development. It is a largely positive discussion that could not be more different than what we are hearing at the national level.

Throughout the border region, local leaders from the public and private sectors are asking themselves how they can form cross-border partnerships to leverage assets in their sister cities and strengthen their local economies. They are looking to create a border that connects the United States to Mexico at least as much as it divides our two nations. A close look at the economic data, however, reveals divergent local economies and major border barriers. In our recent report, Competitive Border Communities: Mapping and Developing U.S.-Mexico Transborder Industries, we found that while advanced manufacturing industries such as  aerospace, automotive and medical devices often predominate in Mexican border communities, RV parks, retail and freight transportation are often the most concentrated (and often low-paying) industries in U.S. border communities.

Read more…

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