Essay on The U.S. and Mexico Relationship

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Wesleyan University
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The U.S. and Mexico, along with Canada, are partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and enjoy a broad and expanding trade relationship. Mexico is currently President Pro Tempore of the Pacific Alliance, a regional economic integration effort spearheaded also by Chile, Colombia, and Peru. Mexico is a champion of free trade, having more free trade agreements than any other country in the world, including pacts with Japan, the EU, and many Latin American partners. In 2012, Mexico joined Chile, Colombia, and Peru to launch an ambitious regional economic integration effort, the Pacific Alliance, focused on liberalizing trade and investment, as well as facilitating the movement of citizens.

Mexico is a major recipient of remittances, sent mostly from Mexicans in the United States, totaling over $22.4 billion in 2012. Most remittances are used for immediate consumption -- food, housing, health care, education -- but some collective remittances, sent from Mexican migrants in the U.S. to their community of origin, are used for shared projects and infrastructure improvements under Mexicos 3 for 1 program that matches contributions with federal, state, and local funds. Protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) is essential to foster economic growth and innovation. Mexico has seen moderate success and continued challenges on the IPR front, particularly on enforcement of IPR. The 2014 U.S. Trade Representative Special 301 Report, a yearly evaluation of IPR and market access conditions that exist with U.S. trading partners, designated Mexico as a Watch List country. The 2014 report noted the widespread availability of pirated and counterfeit goods in Mexico and the lack of coordination between authorities responsible for enforcing IPR. The U.S. continues to support and urge Mexico to take the necessary steps to improve the IPR protection and enforcement environment in Mexico.

U.S. Mexico Border

The border region, defined as the ten U.S. and Mexican border states, represents a combined population of nearly 100 million people and the worlds fourth largest economy. Cooperation between the United States and Mexico along our border includes state and local problem-solving mechanisms; transportation planning; and collaboration in institutions that address resource, environment, and health issues. In 2010, a high level Executive Steering Committee for 21st Century Border Management was created to spur advancements in creating a modern, secure, and efficient border. The multi-agency U.S.-Mexico Binational Group on Bridges and Border Crossings meets three times a year to improve the efficiency of existing crossings and coordinate planning for new ones. The ten U.S. and Mexican border states are active participants in these meetings. Chaired by U.S. and Mexican consuls, Border Liaison Mechanisms operate in "sister city" pairs and have proven to be an effective means of dealing with a variety of local issues including border infrastructure, accidental violation of sovereignty by law enforcement officials, charges of mistreatment of foreign nationals, and cooperation in public health matters. We have many other mechanisms involving out border region, including Border Master Plans to coordinate infrastructure and development, and close collaboration on transportation and customs issues.

The United States and Mexico have a long history of cooperation on environmental and natural resource issues, particularly in the border area, where there are serious environmental problems caused by rapid population growth, urbanization, and industrialization. Cooperative activities between the U.S. and Mexico take place under a number of arrangements such as the U.S.-Mexico Border 2012/2020 Program; the North American Development Bank and the Border Environment Cooperation Commission; the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation; the Border Health Commission; and a variety of other agreements that address border health, wildlife and migratory birds, national parks, forests, and marine and atmospheric resources. The International Boundary and Water Commission, created by a treaty between the United States and Mexico, is an international organization responsible for managing a wide variety of water resource and boundary preservation issues.

The two countries also have cooperated on telecommunications services in the border area for more than 50 years. Recent border agreements cover mobile broadband services, including smartphones, and similar devices. The High Level Consultative Commission on Telecommunications continues to serve as the primary bilateral arena for both governments to promote growth in the sector and to ensure compatible services in the border area. The United States and Mexico are implementing an agreement to improve cross-border public security communications in the border area.

Education Exchange

In May 2013, President Obama and President Pena Nieto announced the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research (herein referred to as the Bilateral Forum) to expand opportunities for educational exchanges, scientific research partnerships, and cross-border innovation to help both countries develop a 21st century workforce for both our mutual economic prosperity and sustainable social development. The Bilateral Forum complements President Obamas 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which seeks to increase student mobility between the United States and the countries of the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico. It also complements Mexicos program Proyecta 100,000 that aims to send 100,000 Mexican students to the United States and to bring 50, 000 US students to Mexico by 2018.

Entrepreneurship And Innovation

Another related effort is the Mexico-U.S. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council (MUSEIC) which seeks to enhance regional competitiveness by strengthening the North American high-impact entrepreneurship ecosystem. MUSEIC is made up of public and private sector representatives from both countries who are working to develop new initiatives along with public policies to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. This work through the Bilateral Forum and MUSEIC builds upon and augments the many existing productive educational and research linkages between U.S. and Mexican academic institutions, civil society, and the private sector.

U.S. Security Cooperation with Mexico

The Merida Initiative is an unprecedented partnership between the United States and Mexico to address violence and criminality while strengthening the rule of law and the respect for human rights. Since 2010, our Merida Initiative cooperation has been organized under four strategic pillars. The first pillar aims to disrupt the capacity of organized crime to operate and the second pillar focuses on enhancing the capacity of Mexicos government and institutions to sustain the rule of law. The Merida Initiatives third pillar aims to improve border management to facilitate legitimate trade and movement of people while thwarting the flow of drugs, arms, and cash. Finally, the fourth pillar seeks to build strong and resilient communities.

U.S. cooperation with Mexico under the Merida Initiative directly supports programs to help Mexico train and equip its law enforcement agencies, promote a culture of lawfulness, implement key justice reforms, and modernize Mexicos borders. Through fiscal year 2013, the U.S. Congress has appropriated $2.15 billion for the Merida Initiative. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs under the Merida Initiative support Mexican efforts to address key challenges to improving citizen security and well-being, developing and testing models to mitigate the community-level impact of crime and violence, and support Mexicos implementation of criminal justice constitutional reforms that protect citizens rights.

In addition to the Merida Initiative, the U.S. and Mexico collaborate on security policy through high-level exchanges to develop strategies for work on security matters that affect both countries. Through this process, the U.S and Mexico develop joint approaches to combat transnational organized crime, enhance law enforcement cooperation, and stem the flow of illicit money and...

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