Why Mess With the U.S. Auto Industry’s Success?

10/16/2017 RealClearWorld

By Duncan Wood

Since the economic crisis of 2008-2009, the U.S. auto industry has been on a tear. Despite the claims of the Trump administration, there are 1 million more cars per year built in the United States now than in 1993. The United States has never before seen such extraordinary automotive production, and the industry has not been this competitive against foreign imports since the 1960s. Between 2009 and 2016, more than 276,000 automotive jobs have been added in the United States (a jump of 41.6% percent), jobs with generous salaries and benefits. Auto-parts producers have also benefited as service providers, as vehicle sales have risen to record levels.

What made this transformation possible? In part it was due to changes demanded by the government in exchange for bailing out the industry, and in part to the opportunity seized by the industry to modernize practices that had held back its competitiveness. But a major factor in the automotive renaissance in America has been the role played by the integrated production system incorporating suppliers and plants in Mexico and Canada, and across the world.

Read more…

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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…

As NAFTA Talks Restart, Canada and Mexico are Unfazed by Trump’s Threats

8/31/2017 Foreign Policy

The second round of talks for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement is set to start Friday in Mexico. Since the conclusion of the first round, U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the trade agreement. How, then, are U.S. neighbors dealing with the impending round two?

Just fine.

For one thing, while public opinion in the United States toward NAFTA is split, Canadians and Mexicans are in general agreement that the deal is good for their countries.

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[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.

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.

Read more…

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

 

Till death do us part: US, Mexico inextricably linked

3/9/2017 The Hill

By Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute

us mex flagIt has often been noted that the U.S.-Mexico relationship is like a marriage — it has its ups and downs, disputes and romances, but, essentially, the two countries are tied together.

Nonetheless, abusive language can be highly destructive. While the recent turmoil in the relationship may not be lead to divorce, there is a very real danger of estrangement if the two nations do not receive the right counseling.

The current marital conflict has far-reaching impacts, and the urgency of reaffirming the bilateral relation transcends the diplomatic rhetoric of the need for mere peaceful coexistence between neighboring nations.