Mexico Calls on Border States for Stronger Trade Ties

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By Emily Pickrell

While the clock continues to tick on a possible renegotiation of the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship, Mexican elected officials are reaching across the border to neighboring U.S. states to strengthen ties.

Mexico’s Sen. Armando Rios Piter will travel to California Feb. 15 to meet with state Sen. Kevin de Leon, who is the current Senate President Pro Tempore and Anthony Rendon, the Democratic speaker of the California State Assembly, to discuss the importance and future of bilateral trade with Mexico and immigrant issues.

“We are actively pursuing these bilateral relationships with the border states,” said Natasha Uren, a senior spokeswoman for Rios.

The shoe leather diplomacy is an effort to address the threatened trade relationship between the two countries, Uren said, by reminding individual states of the benefits of the relationship.

“Most of Arizona’s foreign trade is with Mexico,” Uren said. “That’s why these senators are starting to talk more about the importance of the relationship with Mexico.”

Rios also hopes to establish stronger ties with more influential senators, such as Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has indicated support for strong ties with Mexico.

Private Sector Role

Former trade officials are also encouraging the private sector in both countries to form a common alliance in favor of mutually beneficial trade.

“The private sector needs to participate in making their points, both in Mexico and the U.S.,” said Luis de la Calle, a former undersecretary for international business negotiations from 2000 to 2002 in the Vicente Fox administration and partner with the De la Calle, Madrazo & Mancera trade consulting firm.

“International trade negotiations and moving bills through the U.S. Congress is not the sole domain of the White House. Mexico is a large market for many of these players, and they have a strong interest to protect us,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Pickrell in Mexico City at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at jashton@bna.com

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