By: Mexican Senator, Victor Hermosilo
In the last year we have developed two scenarios that have the potential to change the dynamics of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Mexico, on one hand, the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP by its acronym in English) were completed and on the other, we are in the electoral process to renew the US presidency. Both will lead us to a new state of affairs, where the borders are almost nil and exchanges of all kinds will be more frequent.
The TPP is the largest and most important trade agreement in the history of humanity composed of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, United States, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, accounting for approximately 40% of global GDP and 25% of international trade, representing three-quarters (72%) of foreign trade of Mexico and are the source of more than half (55%) of the investment received by the country since 1999.
Throughout this Pacific Rim region, countries agreed to lower tariff and non-tariff taxes to facilitate the free movement of goods, including agricultural, textile and automotive manufactures like where Mexico is strong globally. That is why the region of California and Baja California becomes a strategic point in this new alignment of world trade and we must prepare guiding our productive sectors so as to maximize the opportunities the Agreement opens.
However, at this moment no parliament of the countries involved has given its ratification to enter into force and in Mexico’s case is the Senate which has the power to give approval, this is why during the Senators’ last year we have approached the Ministry of Economy to monitor the process closely and during the remainder of 2016 we will be analyzing it in depth so that what is adopted impacts our nation favorably.
On the other hand, in the last year the electoral process to replace Barack Obama opened a scenario very few anticipated, which puts Mexicans at the center of the debate, resulting of Donald Trump’s violent discourse. The reality is that never before we have been taken into account at this level in foreign policy debates during campaigns in the US and although the tycoon’s signs lead to bad comments about us, it also boosted the defense of Mexico by friends of our country, exhibiting in national broadcast the interdependence among our nations.
It is no coincidence that the country where there are more Mexicans outside our country is the United States and that the largest concentration of Americans outside their country is Mexico. Moreover, it is no coincidence that since the implementation of NAFTA the largest free trade global region with production of goods and services of over 19 billion dollars a year was created, which accounts for 25% of the world GDP with sustained growth of its three members of 2.6 % since it came into force, and an exchange of 100 million dollars per hour.
With NAFTA, Mexico’s exports grew 597% and we are the second largest supplier to the United States, surpassed only by China, besides our country sells the United States more than sells Germany and Japan together or the rest of Latin America as a whole. Currently, eleven hundred dollars that Canada and the United States spend abroad are to purchase products made in Mexico. In 1993 they were only six dollar for every hundred. So 6 million US jobs depend on trade with Mexico, because through our border the highest number of products and services exchange is made in the world: 1 million people and 300,000 vehicles cross the border daily.
In October 2014, the Council on Foreign Relations, the most important think tank in the United States on foreign policy, released a study led by retired General David Petraeus, former director of the CIA and Robert Rollick, former deputy secretary of state and former director of the World Bank, where he accentuated that: “the twenty-first century may well be the century of America rather than China, but will require that Canada, the United States and Mexico, deepen their integration. If the three North American countries do that, they have the potential to delineate world affairs for generations to come.”
According to the Center for Economic and Teaching Research in Mexico City, Mexican society wants our nation to have more influence: 61% think that having an active participation in world affairs is best for the future of Mexico; 51% think that trade should be used for our country to increase its influence in the world; 81 % agree that there are more roads and bridges that connect us with the regions of North America to promote integration; and over 60% believe that foreign investment and trade are beneficial for Mexican economy.
For all of the above and to the eventual opening of NAFTA we should look forward to a new stage in the integration of the North America where the prosperity of the 3 nations is the primary objective; it is not anecdotal that the big winners over the last three years at the Golden Globes and the Oscars are Mexicans, nor eating hot dogs and celebrating Thanksgiving is common here or eating guacamole and celebrating with piñatas happens in the US.
All of this should lead us to the inevitable integration of North America.