News By Tag
News By Place
Should the Obama Administration take Mexico for Granted?
I recently attended a forum on Mexico called Mexico as a Global Player held at the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan. It was a staged event that I inadvertently turned upside down during the Q&A sessions to unveil some startling truths.
The term 'shuttling between capitals' to negotiate trade deals and peace treaties with the US seems never to apply to Mexico or Central/South America, and yet Mexico is the US's second largest trading partner moving over USD$500 billion in goods and services across its borders. With so much hanging on the balance, especially with immigration reform and border security between both countries, is it prudent for the US to take its neighbors south of the border for granted? ...and what can Mexico say differently to place its agenda on a priority list for high level officials in Washington?
Foreign Affairs Forum
At a recent forum at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City called, Mexico as a Global Player (http://www.foreignaffairs.com/
Over the past twenty years, NAFTA used up most of its political capital in Washington and depending upon who you ask has rendered mixed results. The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
What was once a sparsely populated territory has now been transformed into a series of industrial parks that when viewed from 30,000 feet high appear organized like the floor of a modern plant. Top multinationals such as GM, Chrysler, GE, BMW, Boeing, Nescafe, DuPont, and Embraer, to name a few, have established a presence in the region with their key suppliers located nearby. As testimony to their commitment and confidence in its future prospects, many companies are continuing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to accommodate their imminent rapid growth. Foreign investors including global banks have had a key role in boosting Mexico's FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), which has doubled to USD$35.2bn in 2013 when compared to the year before.
For a country that has carefully mapped this massive expansion and has been responsive to the strategic needs of global manufacturers, one would expect that by all reasonable standards, Mexico’s achievements thus far would have earned it international recognition, and yet, when it comes to members of the US Congress, nothing could be further from the truth. For a slew of political reasons, elected US officials have conveniently stuck to two key issues when discussing US-Mexican relations, immigration reform and border security. With good reason, members of the panel spoke of their efforts to change the dialogue with the US but have done so with little success. The US Ambassador from Mexico to the US, Eduardo Medina Mora (http://embamex.sre.gob.mx/
The newly elected President Enrique Peña Nieto (http://en.presidencia.gob.mx/
An energy reform bill that for the first time allows foreign direct investments to improve the country's energy portfolio and infrastructure.
A telecommunications bill that has broken a long-held monopoly among cell phone and television operators.
An education reform bill that among other challenges will reward teachers on the basis of merit.
A labor bill that makes it easier for companies to hire and fire employees.
In each case, President Enrique Peña Nieto had to take on powerful labor unions and business tycoons to successfully dismantle their influential centers. His efforts won him praise both domestically and internationally. His ingenuity and leadership earned him the respect from his country peers at the G-20 economic meetings. However, despite President Peña Nieto’s notable achievements, Mexico still has never been recognized as a priority by either the Obama Administration or members of the US Congress. Not all was lost. In response to Mexico's relentless requests to gain access to high level officials in Washington, the White House finally acquiesced in May of 2013 to form the HLED platform, which stands for, you guessed it, High Level Economic Dialogue (http://www.whitehouse.gov/
According to one of the panelists, what Mexico needs is a revised narrative, one that addresses key mutual benefits that elected US officials can pitch to garner the support of their constituents. Just asking the US to change their dialogue away from immigration reform and border security, may not be enough. I believe something more is needed and have taken the liberty to lay out a few suggestions below (see appendix) that could help a Mexican delegation send the same intended message to the Obama Administration but, hopefully, in a more compelling manner.
(To read the remainder of this release, please visit - http://wp.me/
© 2014 Tom Kadala - http://www.TomKadala.com