Neil Herrington Neil Herrington
Senior Vice President, Americas Program, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Jay Sapsford Jay Sapsford
Senior Vice President, Global Risk Analysis, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


June 03, 2024


Mexico elected Claudia Sheinbaum as its 66th president in the country’s largest ever elections with more than 20,000 offices contested at the federal, state and municipal levels.

Sheinbaum, the first woman to win Mexico’s presidency, garnered between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote, according to The National Electoral Institute, a show of force for the Movement of National Regeneration, or Morena, which was launched as a political party just 10 years ago. Morena won not only the executive branch, but also chalked up wins in congress, state governorships and legislatures, and municipalities.

Voters across the world – India, the E.U., the U.S., among others - are holding elections this year, but the U.S. business community has a particular interest in Mexico, which is changing leadership at a moment of both great economic promise and significant challenges for the country.

Investors are turning to Mexico to ‘near-shore’ supply chains as the Chamber found in its 2023 survey of multinationals, Supply Chain Strategies and Nearshoring Opportunities in the Americas.

Mexico exporter to US

That investment is a crucial reason the U.S. now imports more goods from Mexico than any other nation.

Companies nearshoring Mexico

But Mexico’s foreign investors also see risks on the horizon, notably crime and violence, and worry the country’s leadership has yet to fully leverage this moment of economic opportunity. 

Sheinbaum will be inaugurated Oct. 1, the hand-picked successor to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who terms out with strong support of nearly 60%.

AMLO used the bully pulpit to support Sheinbaum’s candidacy against top challengers Xóchitl Gálvez (early returns suggest between 26.6% and 28.6% of the vote), candidate of the opposition coalition, and Citizens’ Movement candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez (9.9% and 10.8%).

The Morena party benefitted from historically low unemployment and a strong peso that has helped tame inflation.

All 628 seats of Mexico’s congress were contested, and Morena did well in both houses. It has gained a two thirds “supermajority” in the house but fell short of that threshold by a handful of votes in the senate. That will pose a hurdle to passing a host of controversial constitutional reforms sought by AMLO and Morena, reforms that require a supermajority in both chambers. 

The senate shortfall, however, is small enough that Sheinbaum and her party will be in a position to negotiate deals with small numbers of opposition members to push through some of the reforms, including moves to submit key judicial, electoral, and other government positions to popular vote.

Many observers see this as a threat to the independence of key institutions that have come under pressure from the current government.Businesses are also monitoring other risks.

These are key areas to watch in Mexico’s coming Sheinbaum era.


The most vexing issue the president-elect and her government will confront is rampant public insecurity. The influence of transnational criminal organizations has increased dramatically in recent years, impacting the elections themselves.

At least 34 political candidates or applicants were murdered in the past year as criminal organizations attempted to influence those coming to power. Mexico’s estimated 30,000 annual homicides are at historical highs, and impunity is a hallmark in a country in which 95% of crimes go unsolved.

In some parts of Mexico, voters chose to nullify their votes by writing in the names of some of Mexico’s missing, according to the Associated Press. In the town of Cuitezo, a town council candidate was shot just two hours before voting began.

In recent years, criminal organizations that have long specialized in drug and human trafficking have leveraged their coercive powers to take active stakes in lucrative mainstream economic activities such as avocado and tortilla production.

Topping the U.S. diplomatic agenda are the challenges around transnational crime and its impact on irregular migration and fentanyl trafficking. It remains unclear how much a Sheinbaum government will collaborate with the U.S. on interdiction and remediation efforts after the current government’s mixed track record in addressing the issues.

The president-elect spoke in only vague terms on the campaign trail about concerns over public security and criminality.

“Business owners see safety and security as significant barriers to manufacturing in the country,” found the 2023 Chamber survey.


The President-elect has shown an unwavering commitment to maintaining AMLO’s “Fourth Transformation,” a movement that claims to confront Mexico’s elite and return equality, power and resources to the country’s masses.

That populist message – repeated constantly on the campaign trail - contrasts with the investment capital flowing into Mexico. After the Trump administration slapped tariffs on China, businesses have sought to shift parts of their supply chains to Mexico, with the predictability of the USMCA raising comfort levels.

The resulting investment inflows have been steady, if not historic. But U.S. businesses have faced long standing trade irritants in the energy, agricultural, health sectors and more. For example, U.S. energy producers and their foreign counterparts have faced a protectionist AMLO determined to tilt the playing field in favor of state-owned hydrocarbon producers.

Sheinbaum’s background as an acclaimed scientist and champion of the energy transition could result in the sector being one of the first areas in which she breaks with her mentor to pursue a policy more favorable to enhancing competition in the energy space that would benefit foreign producers and Mexican consumers alike.

More broadly, some expect the President-elect will take a more pragmatic approach than her predecessor to resolving challenges. But she has done little on the campaign trail to signal a softer approach.

All told, Mexico’s new president would do well to avoid resting on recent strong economic results. Turmoil in the U.S.-China relationship has provided Mexico with a historic window to present itself as an alternative to China.

As more investments arrive, more well-paying jobs should be within reach of millions of Mexicans. By focusing on security, rule of law and the business climate, President-elect Sheinbaum has a unique opportunity to set a course for a much more prosperous future.

About the authors

Neil Herrington

Neil Herrington

Neil Herrington is senior vice president for the Americas Department at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. His portfolio includes executive management of the department’s programs, councils, and hemispheric policy initiatives. Herrington also serves as president of the U.S.-Cuba Business Council, the U.S.-Colombia Business Council and the U.S.-Argentina Business Council.

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Jay Sapsford

Jay Sapsford

Jay Sapsford is Senior Vice President for Global Risk Analysis and helps lead the Chamber’s efforts in assessing geopolitical and economic risks that impact the business community. He plays a key role in identifying global trends, risks, and opportunities on behalf of the Chamber’s membership.

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