Univision Phoenix interviewed staff of the North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) at ASU on U.S.-Mexico trade and tourism issues for a special two-part series that aired May 15 and 16 on the station’s 10:00 pm news program. The first segment focused on NACTS’ commentary on the commercial relationship between the two countries, while the second segment focused more on the upcoming presidential elections in Mexico on July 1 and how they will affect the bilateral relationship. And that impact has the potential to be large. “U.S. exports to Mexico last year grew by $34 billion dollars, which is the largest increase in U.S. exports to any country,” noted Policy and Research Analyst Alejandro Figueroa.
While this year’s presidential election is garnering enormous media attention in Mexico and the rest of the world, NACTS is looking closely at important underlying trends that will affect the U.S. and Mexico for years to come. “Of even greater interest [than who wins the election] to us is how the economy will be managed. The federal govenrment in Mexico has a significant influence on that country’s economy,” said Erik Lee, associate director of NACTS. Of particular interest to NACTS is how the two countries manage their almost 2,000-mile long border. “The question is, getting the people who manage the ports of entry to recognize this as an economic issue,” emphasized NACTS Director Rick Van Schoik.
The interviews were based on NACTS’ recent reports, “Realizing the Full Value of Our Crossborder Trade with Mexico” and “Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to the United States.” Both reports discuss the impressive facts that underpin the U.S.-Mexico commercial relationship. Mexico is the U.S. number three overall trading partner behind Canada and China and our nation’s number two export market. President Obama’s National Exports Initiative of 2010 needs to have a special focus on Mexico in order to be successful, according to the NACTS report. In terms of tourism, Mexican tourists are the second largest number of visits to the U.S. of any country (after Canada), with 13.42 million visits to the United States in 2011. Increasing these already impressive numbers will require the U.S. federal government actively promote tourism to the U.S. in Mexico; take a hard look at the visa process; and upgrade our land ports of entry.