Ana López Mestre
Executive VicePresident and General Director
American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico
/
Expert Contributor

Toward a New Stage of Mexico-US Cooperation

By Ana López Mestre | Tue, 03/08/2022 - 17:00

Faced with a post-pandemic economic recovery that has brought upon us many challenges, lessons, and opportunities, 2021 was a notable year for the Mexico-US duo: it is clear that together we are more competitive.

Mexico needs to recover and lay the groundwork for sustainable growth in the long term. Early estimates from INEGI indicate that 2021 GDP increased only 5 percent over 2020 and, according to Luis Foncerrada, AmCham’s chief economist, Mexico’s growth will range between 1.8 percent and 2.5 percent in 2022. He points out that these growth levels are insufficient and that Mexico needs to strengthen the internal market with investment, better jobs, better working conditions and competitive salaries.

The pandemic has confirmed the importance of the strategic bond between Mexico and the US. Not only we are neighbors, the US is our No. 1 trading partner, with a bilateral exchange of US$661.2 billion in 2021, and the stability and growth of our economy is largely part of our ability to be a strategic partner.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the independent response by each country to define "essential activities," and the resulting impact on bilateral trade, was a clear “wake-up call” to coordinate on commercial and regulatory issues. In this context, USMCA is a powerful and timely tool to guide the new era in Mexico-US binational cooperation, as referred to by US Ambassador Kenneth Salazar.

As representatives of the binational business community in Mexico, the pandemic has been a turning point for AmCham, particularly to:

  • bring our companies information and intelligence to face the profound transformations that businesses are experiencing today, and
  • strengthen our role as agents of evolution and proactive dialogue with binational authorities through workshops with the embassy, ​​proposals from the industry regarding the High-Level Economic Dialogue, a collaboration agreement with local governments through the AMSDE and high-level conversations with the ministries of finance, economy and foreign affairs,  governors of the Southeast and the US Embassy in Mexico.

As social change-agents, at AmCham, we are committed to leading Mexico’s economic recovery and to help lay the foundations for a sustainable, more inclusive, resilient and competitive economy.

We can do this by working on five strategic priorities: (i) Economic recovery and integration of North America; (ii) Bilateral trade and implementation of USMCA; (iii) Regulatory cooperation; (iv) Security and Rule of Law: Confidence and certainty for investments; and (v) Sustainable growth with social responsibility, care for the environment, compliance, and diversity and inclusion.

Returning to an environment and dynamics similar to those we had before the pandemic is impossible. Today, we have to ask ourselves: What does Mexico need to continue being a competitive and reliable partner at a global level? We then need to act to achieve it.

In addition to strengthening our regional strategic partnership, particularly with the US, we need to consolidate a sounder business environment, with legal certainty and the rule of law. Trust is the key component for more and better investments, for Mexico to become a more competitive player and for more companies to choose it as a strategic long-term partner every time.

It is time to take action and get to work, each one from our trench, in order to create win-win scenarios. When Mexico wins, we all win.

We are talking about an open dialogue between sectors, which recognizes both the needs of society and the industry, as well as clear rules that are respected over time.

Ana López Mestre is the Executive Vice President and Director General of the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, a business chamber that represents more than 1,000 US companies based in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, which are responsible for generating 21 percent of the national GDP and more than 8 million formal, direct and indirect jobs. She is a mentor of the Executive Women Development Program, has been recognized as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Mexico by Expansión and Forbes, and has received the "Exceptional Women of Excellence" distinction by the Women Economic Forum Ibero-America.

Photo by:   Ana López Mestre