Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
April 15, 2019
For all the talk of tension between the U.S. and Mexico, we remain close friends and neighbors with mutual interests, common challenges, and interdependent economies. For more than a century, U.S. and Mexican companies have worked together to drive investment, create jobs, and promote prosperity on both sides of the border.
Trade with our neighbor to the south exceeds $1.8 billion daily and supports nearly 5 million American jobs. Mexico is our second-largest export market and an integral link in our global supply chain. Our countries are so connected that each day half a million people legally cross our shared border for work, school, commerce, and tourism.
That’s why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce vigorously opposed the administration’s recent proposal to close the southern border in response to our broken immigration system. Such a move would have been catastrophic to the bilateral relationship and costly for businesses and consumers in both countries. Fortunately, the administration heeded our warning and abandoned this disastrous proposal.
The controversy at the border is just one more reminder that we need to work together with our friends and partners in Mexico to address common challenges. To that end, the Chamber convened the 11th meeting of the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue last week in Mexico, where we were pleased to host newly elected President López Obrador.
Working together with the López Obrador government, we can advance shared priorities, such as strengthening the rule of law, enhancing workforce development, confronting security concerns, and boosting economic growth. At the CEO Dialogue, we highlighted the many ways U.S. companies can help the new Mexican government achieve these and other policy objectives.
We likewise emphasized the urgent need to bring into force the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which will preserve and strengthen our close trade ties with our two North American neighbors. We must eliminate the uncertainty hanging over our businesses by pushing legislatures in all three countries to swiftly approve the new agreement and bring it into force.
To move the needle in Congress, the Chamber is leading a coalition of 350 U.S. businesses and associations calling for congressional approval of the deal. The formation of this coalition comes as we continue to urge the administration to lift the steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. Doing so is essential to getting USMCA across the line – and it’s essential to reaping the benefits of a strengthened, modernized deal.
We believe that the U.S. and Mexico are stronger working together than working apart. That’s why the Chamber will continue building bridges between public- and private-sector leaders on both sides of the border.