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The G-20 Summit confirmed it: Mexico has emerged on the world stage. Mexico today boasts a vibrant economy, a highly skilled workforce, and the world’s second-largest free trade network. While much attention and interest have been showered on the so-called BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India, and China - Mexico with a higher per-capita income than any of those countries has quietly garnered another moniker - "BRICs-plus."
Mexico is our second-largest U.S. export market. More than a billion dollars a day in goods crosses our 2,000-mile border. In 2011, just the growth in U.S. exports to Mexico at $34 billion would have been America’s 11th-largest customer. In turn, the United States is Mexico's number one source of foreign investment and single largest market, even while Mexico has substantially diversified its trade through market access agreements with 44 countries - second in the world only to Chile.
Proximity to the United States has at times been a mixed blessing for Mexico. As the saying there goes, "So far from God, so close to the United States." Its ties to the U.S. economy have also fueled another popular sentiment: "When the United States sneezes, Mexico catches a cold." And yet, today, Mexico's neighborhood seems more like a geographic advantage. With labor and transportation costs rising elsewhere, Mexico with its unique position in the U.S. market looks very competitive to global investors, and by association so does the United States. "Near-shoring" of manufacturing supply chains back to North America means jobs for both countries, as well as neighboring Canada. The announcement this week that Mexico, along with Canada, will join the United States and eight other Pacific Rim nations in negotiations for a new-global-standard-setting trade agreement - the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP - will only reinforce that trend.
Attendees at the summit discovered an impressively organized event from start to finish. The parallel B-20 business summit, led by Alejandro Ramírez, CEO of multinational powerhouse Cinépolis, demonstrated that Mexico’s private sector is more than ready for increased global prominence. In recognition of Mexico’s ascendance, committed U.S. investors in the Mexican market came together with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2010 to form the U.S.-Mexico Leadership Initiative. Today, with growing interest and participation from their Mexican counterparts, these companies are working to ensure that all Americans recognize the stake that America has in a prosperous Mexico. That work got a little easier this week, because the secret is out – Mexico is world-class.