The hardest part is that both have a long way to go and there is no way to avoid the demands created by their own needs,
The good news is that the U.S. and Mexican governments have started to speak again and appear determined that their talks will be more than just a dialogue aimed at their own audiences, but instead a search for real understanding and common ground.
The hardest part is that both have a long way to go and there is no way to avoid the demands created by their own needs, or their internal political constraints. The resumption last week of the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue offers possibilities like those that had more or less opened up in the exchanges previously, until the interruption four years ago, when the Donald Trump regime turned it into a monologue of power that forced reactive measures, not necessarily a conversation about common issues.
There is certainly room for optimism — moderated optimism, but optimism nonetheless. Necessity is an imperative and each government needs the other for their own reasons: It could be said that the parallel themes of migration and security that are priorities for the U.S. have close ties with Mexican proposals for development and complementarity.
In the case of the Andrés Manuel López Obrador government, the economic stakes are linked, like it or not, with the strength of the relationship with the United States. But the final responsibility rests with each side, although perhaps more with the stronger one — the Americans.
According to various sources, the U.S. is concerned about where Mexico is headed, and there is pressure for the Joe Biden administration to adopt stronger positions on issues such as the energy industry and the preferences that the Mexican government offers to government-owned companies.
But the issues linked with migration are of critical importance to the Biden administration. Their domestic need is immediate and overrides other considerations, including those that for ideological reasons could lead to problems with U.S. Congress.
In this context, according to a source in Washington, the HLED is not a problem-solving mechanism, but a space for discussion that will hopefully prevent some problems from getting worse.
Furthermore, it will entail a focus on areas of cooperation, as well as discussion of complicated matters. But be careful. The day before the meeting, a U.S. official told journalists that “the most important economic actors in Mexico are U.S. companies” and that “we are not responsible — we cannot force companies to invest,” that it’s the work of the Mexican government to create an adequate environment.
The economic and political relationship is important for both countries and maintaining it is the work of both governments. It’s good that they have started to converse, to discuss, but it’s more important that they arrive at an understanding. Now is not the time to reinvent the wheel; by mutual agreement, their first midterm exam will be in November.