Americas

It’s Time for Mexico to Rise


Siente orgullo de ser Mexicano, requiere la doble nacionalidad. Be proud of your Mexican heritage, and obtain your double-nationality.

Image courtesy of the author

This campaign slogan can be found on a billboard across the border from El Paso, Texas, in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua—once considered the murder capital of the world as drug-related violence plagued the recuperating city. The campaign is meant to target American-born Mexicans living in Mexico—a commonality found more often in border cities. The Mexican government put up the billboard to not only promote Mexican pride and unite Mexicans both at home and abroad but to encourage its American-born residents to claim their Mexican citizenship so that they not only feel part of Mexican society, but contribute to it, too.

Ever since Donald Trump made radical campaign promises to renegotiate NAFTA—the North American Free Trade Agreement that according to Trump is “the worst world trade deal ever”—and build a border wall that Mexico will pay for, he ignited a fire within Mexico—a fire that if used to its advantage could help Mexico prosper beyond the help of its northern neighbor. To diversify trade beyond the United States, Mexico should seek to expand its trade deals with other leading economies like those in the European Union or China, and improve diplomatic relations with other countries more broadly, in order to attract foreign investment. By finding ways to loosen its reliance on the United States, Mexico can open doors for opportunities that it might not have otherwise considered had Trump lost. The time is now for Mexico to rise and shine.

It would be naïve to encourage Mexico to completely isolate itself from the United States, as both countries rely on each other for economic and security reasons. However, what can be suggested is that if Trump continues with the negative rhetoric toward Mexico and Mexican citizens and keeps his campaign promises, then the Mexican government should be encouraged to find other allies with whom to work. Mexico shouldn’t have to rely on one country to solve its problems; rather, it should be encouraged to solve much on its own while seeking the help of others across the globe.

Yes, Mexico already has trade relations with other powerhouses like the European Union and Canada, but it might be smart to seek better terms or renegotiate those existing agreements. For example, it is currently in negotiations with the EU to update the Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement (Global Agreement), a free trade agreement between Mexico and the EU that went into force in 2000. These negotiations might just be the start of what’s to come.

Mexico is rich in natural resources—from agricultural products to oil—that can be further produced and exported. Unfortunately, the Mexican government hasn’t taken the necessary steps to open markets and export these products at full capacity. It might be time to consider doing so now.

It’s of interest to note that Canada recently announced visa-free travel for Mexican citizens—a sign that Canada might consider other friendly policies with Mexico, especially those that might improve the economic situation in the country. Could this be another opportunity that Mexico can leverage? The answer is potentially, yes.

Of course, for Mexico to really prosper, it needs to fix a couple of internal problems—from improving the security situation and rule of law, to reducing human rights abuses, and taking a crack at the widespread corruption within the government itself. Should it address these challenges, Mexico might rise and surprise its neighbor to the north—sending a signal that it doesn’t need the United States as much as it used to. Nonetheless, more countries would be willing to invest in and trade with Mexico if these national improvements were made.

Mexico has a chance to prosper if it seeks to find opportunities that don’t involve the United States. If it leverages these opportunities all while fixing its internal problems, then it might just be able to shine.

 

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