MEXICO - Diplomacy
former undersecretary for Foreign Trade, Mexico’s Secretariat of Economy
Luz María de la Mora holds a PhD in political science from Yale University and has over 25 years of experience in the public sector, serving as head of the economic relations and international cooperation unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as head of the international negotiations unit in the Ministry of Economy. She was also part of the negotiations team of the NAFTA. She is the former vice minister for foreign trade in the Ministry of Economy in Mexico.
Many factors have introduced a great deal of uncertainty to trade including the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, high levels of inflation, commodity prices, and the energy sector. This has also impacted business decisions. We are seeing trends of the restructuring of value chains as a result of all of these events taking place in the world. This also includes the disruption in the logistic chain. Globalization has been restructured to a certain extent and there’s more interest of companies moving their production to be closer to their final consumers, building more resilient supply chains. For example, nearshoring and the new concept of ally-shoring where companies are realizing they have to do business among countries that have a similar vision. More companies are forced to rethink how they can build more resilient and also cost competitive value chains. In this regard, Mexico is seen as a reliable partner. We are also seen as a site that can offer what companies are looking for, which is preferential market access as a result of our 14 FTAs with 50 countries across the world. Mexico has a great deal of experience in doing business with other countries and a strong entrepreneurial community that knows how to do business with the world. We also have a talented and skilled local workforce that supports global value chains. We have a stable macro economy understanding that every country in the world is undergoing important challenges with respect to inflation and higher interest rates. Mexico has been able to cope well during these challenging times.
Diversification is an agenda that Mexico has always pursued; this is one of the pillars of the foreign trade policy of this administration. It is evident that everyone wants access to the US market from the Mexican market. Every product that complies with rules of origin of USMCA can have access to the US market. Our exports to the US reached USD398 billion in 2021, and our exports to the rest of the world were another USD100 billion. We are exporting twice as much today, around 250% more than what we exported to markets beyond the US than the total amount of our exports in 1993. We sometimes lose sight of that because we only pay attention to the fact that 80% of our exports go to the US market which is a big number, but we neglect the other USD100 billion. Our business community and export sector are gradually looking for alternative markets, and they have been extremely successful. One example is agriculture. We have become the 12th-largest export market for agricultural products in the world. We are an important exporter of products from beef, cattle, and all sorts of animal exports. Processed food is also an important market where Mexico has become a thriving exporter. Entering the Pacific Alliance is an important integration mechanism for us that has been in place since 2011. We celebrated the 11th anniversary in 2022 and hold the chair of Pacific Alliance. The Alliance is an integration mechanism for trade, goods and services along with investment liberalization, people, tourism and so on. It’s also a mechanism where the four of us are looking into the Asia Pacific region. This is why we negotiated a free trade agreement with Singapore. We hope to get this agreement in place in one or two years, and it will help us to address one of the most important objectives of the Pacific Alliance, which is the four of us entering the most dynamic market or region in the world. Democratizing trade and ensuring all citizens in the region can experience the benefits of being part of the Pacific Alliance is among the priorities we are pushing this year.
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