ASU In the News

Elections to impact US, Mexico commercial relations?

The television station KTVW Univision 33 in Phoenix interviewed D. Rick Van Schoik, Erik Lee and Alejandro Figueroa of the North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) at Arizona State University about U.S.-Mexico trade and tourism issues, for a special two-part series that aired May 15 and 16 on the station’s 10 p.m. news program.

The first segment focused on the North American Center's commentary on the commercial relationship between the two countries, while the second segment focused more on the upcoming presidential elections in Mexico on July 1 and how they will affect the bilateral relationship. And that impact has the potential to be large.

“U.S. exports to Mexico last year grew by $34 billion, which is the largest increase in U.S. exports to any country,” said Figueroa, NACTS policy and research analyst.

While this year’s presidential election is garnering enormous media attention in Mexico and the rest of the world, the center is looking closely at important underlying trends that will affect the United States and Mexico for years to come.

“Of even greater interest [than who wins the election] to us is how the economy will be managed. The federal government in Mexico has a significant influence on that country’s economy,” said Lee, NACTS associate director. "Of particular interest to our group is how the two countries manage their almost 2,000-mile long border."

“The question is, getting the people who manage the ports of entry to recognize this as an economic issue,” said Van Schoik, NACTS director, who recently attended a briefing and lunch with the Mexican President Calderón, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

The interviews were based on the center's recent reports, “Realizing the Full Value of Our Crossborder Trade with Mexico” and “Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to the United States.” Both reports discuss the facts that underpin the U.S.-Mexico commercial relationship. According to the reports, President Obama’s National Exports Initiative of 2010 needs to have a special focus on Mexico in order to be successful.

Mexico is the United States’ No. 3 overall trading partner behind Canada and China, and No. 2 in the U.S. export market. In terms of tourism, Mexican tourists make the second-largest number of visits to the United States of any country (after Canada), with 13.42 million visits to the United States in 2011.

Increasing these already impressive numbers will require that the U.S. federal government actively promote U.S. tourism in Mexico; take a hard look at the visa process; and upgrade our land ports of entry, noted Lee.

The North American Center for Transborder Studies is a research unit of the ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

(View a related KJZZ report at

Article Source: Univision 33 Phoenix
Margaret Coulombe

Director, Executive Communications, Office of the University Provost