There is little doubt that the last few years have presented global challenges in what many consider to be one of the greatest crises of our lifetime. COVID-19 has disrupted the international order and put pressure on governments, supply chains and the movement of people. The international order, however, has proven to be both resilient and adaptive. Governments and businesses have implemented policies designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, and vaccination efforts have been successful in immunizing significant numbers of people.
What is undeniable is that we are still feeling the effects of COVID, and it is likely that there will be repercussions from the pandemic for years to come. As this year comes to a close, it is important to take stock and consider how to ensure that the future remains open to commerce, travel and cooperation, while becoming more resilient to climate change, possible future pandemics and international dynamics.
We believe that the answer lies in building a stronger, more integrated North America. The United States and Mexico have developed a strong partnership in the last decades based on mutually beneficial collaboration on such areas as the environmental protections, regional security, commerce, travel and international cooperation. Mexico has many of the competitive advantages that major investment hubs in the Asia-Pacific region have, but Mexico has other key advantages as well. Mexico has a strong record of respecting private, intellectual property, with provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) furthering such IP protections. The USMCA remains the only international trade agreement that makes specific provisions for digital intellectual property.
Mexico also is in regional proximity to the United States, a sister republic whose interests align to the U.S., and an invaluable partner for international cooperation. Mexico has proven to be a stable and collaborative partner on the international stage. In 2021, Mexican rescue and emergency workers have participated in relief efforts in the United States and Canada in operations responding to natural disasters. In response to the situation in Afghanistan, Mexico has taken in many Afghan refugees and aided in their transportation to Mexico. Today, Mexico also calls on the U.S. to join Mexico in fighting the root cause of irregular immigration from Central America — mainly a lack of prosperity and opportunity.
Mexican migration to the U.S. has been at net-negative amounts for nearly a decade, but Mexico’s geographical position connecting North America to Central and South America make it a key zone of passage for migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. Only by collaborating in creating the conditions for these people to thrive in their home countries will we effectively root out irregular immigration at the rates we’ve seen in the previous years. Mexico is investing in the Central American and Caribbean regions by financing and launching projects aimed at better preparing the region for the challenges of climate change, developing agricultural and energy infrastructure and improving environmental sustainability.
On more regional matters, Mexico is currently the United States’ largest trading partner but only Washington state’s 11th largest international trading partner. Expanding commerce, trade and investment between Washington state and Mexico will be extremely beneficial to both partners. Mexico boasts a young, well-educated population that has adapted well to the challenges of a modern economy and has the Pacific Ocean-based infrastructure necessary to further deepen ties between our regions.
September is Mexico’s month of national festivities, and the Consulate of Mexico Office in Seattle will be celebrating the Cry of Dolores on Sept. 15. We invite all Washingtonians to celebrate with us and to think of Mexico not just as a neighbor but as a strategic partner in building a better tomorrow of prosperity and justice.