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Obama, Pena-Nieto greet an era of wider cooperation
Recent studies by the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars maintain that nearly 40 percent of Mexican-made products exported to the United States originated north of the border.
On Tuesday Mr. Pena Nieto said he looked forward to speaking with Mr. Obama on spurring job growth on both sides of the border.
Some Latin America experts contend that small but key initiatives such as an open-skies or trucking agreement could dramatically expand U.S.-Mexico manufacturing cohesion in ways that rapidly and measurably impact both countries’ economies.
“It doesn’t need to be a big free-trade agreement,” said Shannon K. O’Neil of the Latin American Studies Program at the Council on Foreign Relations.
She cited a variety of factors that have come to stand in the way of deepened cross-border economic ties.
On the U.S. side, Ms. O’Neill said, American voters generally “don’t understand the benefits that will come from some of these steps.”
“When you look at the broader American public, the perspectives are pretty negative,” she said.
The first things the majority of Americans connect with Mexico are drugs, drug cartels and corruption, she added.
“Part of the problem and the resistance to change in the U.S.-Mexico relationship is that the constituents for U.S. elected officials have such a negative perception of Mexico,” she said.
“That can make it hard for politicians and congressional representatives to push forward on initiatives that would deepen the relationship or expand the relationship beyond fighting the war on drugs.”
There also are hurdles to overcome on the Mexican side, particularly among nationalist politicians wary of U.S. dominance.
“There’s a group in Mexico that’s very suspicious and worried about being overshadowed or subsumed by the United States,” Ms. O’Neill said.
Mr. Pena Nieto promoted expanded economic ties during a visit to Brazil in September and is expected to strike a similar tone Wednesday in a meeting in Ottawa with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
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About the Author
Guy Taylor rejoined The Washington Times in 2011 as the State Department correspondent.
As a freelance journalist, Taylor’s work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Fund For Investigative Journalism, and his stories appeared in a variety publications, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to Salon, Reason, Prospect Magazine of London, the Daily Star of Beirut, the ...
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