Panelists examined Mexico’s economic trajectory, the link between rule of law and economic development, and implications of both for the United States. ... Play Video
Panel 1: Mexico’s Globalized Economy and North American Integration
James R. Jones, Chairman, ManattJones Global Strategies
Philip Levy, Senior Fellow, Global Economy, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Eugenio Madero, President, Rassini
Eric Farnsworth, Vice President, Americas Society/Council of the Americas (moderator)
Panel 2: Rule of Law in Mexico and Implications for Economic Development (video starts at 1:00:25)
Juan Antonio Le Clercq, Director, Center for the Study of Impunity and Justice; Academic Director, International Relations and Political Science, Universidad de las Américas, Puebla (UDLAP)
Alejandro Ponce, Chief Research Officer, World Justice Project
Tony Payan, Director, Mexico Center, Baker Institute; Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexican Studies (moderator)
Council of the Americas, in partnership with the Baker Institute’s Mexico Center, held this event at a crucial point for U.S.-Mexican relations, given anti-NAFTA sentiment sounded in the U.S. presidential race while Mexico undertakes the twin challenges of corruption and rule of law.
AS/COA’s Eric Farnsworth opened the first panel by addressing the fact that backwards perceptions about Mexico haven’t caught up with the country’s reality, and Ambassador Jim Jones cautioned that negative rhetoric about Mexico in the U.S. electoral race threatened to set U.S.-Mexico relations back 50 years. In this discussion on trade and integration, Jones added that U.S. job losses are connected to technological innovation with roots that predate current trade agreements. Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Philip Levy addressed Mexico’s reform agenda, warning that the reforms will take a long time to show results even as Mexico “is facing headwinds” such as low oil prices and slow U.S. growth. Rassini’s Eugenio Madero outlined the importance of the global supply chain that Mexico is a part of as a result of NAFTA.
In the second panel, Baker’s Tony Payan explained that “Mexico used NAFTA as a way of legislating itself from the outside.” Panelists discussed Mexico’s challenges with trying to build laws that root out corruption and impunity, and why this is a hurdle for the business sector and society at large. UDLAP’s Juan Antonio Le Clercq said Mexico ranked 58 out of 59 countries in an index measuring justice, corruption, and human rights while WJP’s Alejandro Ponce said 30 percent of Mexican businesses had been victimized by crime. Payan closed by saying the United States needs to move its Mexico policy beyond trade and the Merida Initiative to include human rights and rule of law.