Pending issues in the Mexico-US relationship

The U.S. government has a strategy for what it wants with Mexico. Although the migration issue has been discussed in the U.S. Congress, there is no viable provision or bill.

Pending issues in the Mexico-US relationship
Interdependent, asymmetric, ambiguous and contradictory, the Mexico-US relationship. Photo by Quick PS / Unsplash

The challenges of the Mexico-US relationship are considerable, among them recovering trust and building foundations that allow establishing, in the future, coherent and rational relations, considered José Luis Valdés Ugalde, member and former director of the Center for Research on North America (CISAN) of the UNAM, as a member and former director of the Center for Research on North America (CISAN) of the UNAM. Historically, the connection has been interdependent, but asymmetric, ambiguous, and contradictory. However, "in these times, such ambiguity is more pronounced and dangerous for the national interest", he considered.

For María Rosa García Acevedo, from California State University, it is characterized by its complexity, its asymmetric, intermestic (a mixture of domestic and global events), and historical character. The complexity includes the constellation of governmental and non-governmental actors involved in the relationship, among them the U.S. Congress and the rating companies, whose opinions influence both sides of the border and the world, as well as organizations concerned with civil and political rights.

In the round table "The challenges of foreign policy in the bilateral relationship", of the Bicentennial Dialogues of the United States-Mexico Diplomatic Relations, Valdés Ugalde considered: The Mexican president has confronted the North American nation and the actors in that country that have interests rooted in our territory, historical and new, such as those that have to do with direct investments in clean energies.

The position has been one of the absences of strategy concerning what we want from the relationship and what they would like from us; the negative repercussions are evident on several fronts. "The intermestic policy has been submerged in a series of ups and downs that, on several occasions, border on scandalous", said the university professor.

The internal crisis imposed by the forces of "Trumpism" and the pandemic emergency, as well as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have permeated the American Union's relations with the outside world. "With Biden came an internationalist president. However, the disinterest with which the Mexican government has treated some of the historical areas of the bilateral relationship and has concentrated more on provoking than on building a cooperative dialogue with our partner and neighbor said Valdés Ugalde.

While the U.S. government has a strategy regarding what it wants with Mexico, on traditional agenda items and new ones such as pandemics, sustainable economy, unemployment, energy, climate change, and human rights, the Mexican government has shown no signs of having an idea of how it wants to approach the relationship. This, according to the researcher, could lead to an even more asymmetrical cooperative relationship.

Pending issues in the Mexico-US relationship

When taking the floor again, García Acevedo stressed that although the issue of migration has been discussed at different times during the last two years in the U.S. Congress, in reality, there is nothing concrete, such as a viable provision or bill on the matter.

In terms of trade, the funds that this legislative body has granted around the T-MEC stand out: in 2020, 180 million dollars for general projects and 30 million dollars related to operating expenses of U.S. consular officials in Mexico, who monitor labor laws, collective bargaining agreements and extreme cases, such as forced labor.

In security, the funds for the so-called bicentennial understanding stand out; Congress granted $150 million for financial intelligence, border anti-crime coordination, addiction treatment, and measures to reduce high-impact violence.

There are also projects funded in the border area. Of the two most important, one corresponds to the International Boundary and Water Commission, which is in charge of a series of transboundary programs related to the shared flow of rivers. However, "there is little action in terms of migration".

Meanwhile, the rating agencies, companies that are in charge of evaluating the economic situation of a country, gave Mexico a lower rating from 2018 to date; two provide a negative view about the future, but Moody's is even more negative in its forecast, and that opinion "is crucial in the life of both countries".