The 2024 presidential elections in the United States and Mexico represent an important opportunity for regional collaboration, particularly in terms of trade and economic competitiveness. In 2022, the value of trade between the three North American countries totaled more than $1.5 billion and capital investment exceeded $219 billion. During the first half of 2023, Mexico received more than $30 billion in capital investments from the United States. The election results could constitute a continuation of the existing order or, perhaps, mark a turning point. In a global dynamic of polarization and geopolitical reconfiguration, the two countries will decide the direction to take for the years to come. This is particularly important in terms of trade policy, especially in the North American region, as it could largely define the consolidation of this trade bloc as the most competitive and prosperous in the world for decades to come; or on the contrary endanger the commercial and economic stability of the region.
The USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement), particularly its first review which will take place in July 2026, will be of particular importance to the new administrations in terms of trade and regional relations. The USMCA (formerly known as NAFTA, but renegotiated and implemented in 2020), generated greater certainty in trade and investment between the three countries, in addition to establishing mechanisms for resolve commercial and labor disputes. This agreement will be subject to a thorough review, which will undoubtedly open a complex negotiation process.
One of the challenges of the review process will be to avoid contamination of the trade agreement with other issues and challenges facing the region. Conditioning concessions and trade agreements on commitments of another nature, such as migration or security, would generate an atmosphere of tension and incorporate additional factors that would make the negotiations even more complicated, with the risk of derailing the negotiations and to endanger a future that is coming today. promising. This is why it will be essential, during electoral campaigns, to avoid speeches that attack and denigrate neighboring countries, but on the contrary to put forward constructive and cooperative proposals to strengthen the region and highlight the importance of regional trade. .
Candidates must commit to three key messages in order to send positive messages to the private sector. They are:
From the start of their respective administrations, they will begin to promote a meeting of the High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED), which has been the institutional platform for establishing an economic agenda between the two countries.
Ensure the active participation of senior officials from the United States and Mexico in the CEO Dialogue, to continue the work that has been done by the committees there and keep the conversation going with the private sector, so that the economic agenda can be jointly enriched, with a particular focus on supply chain resilience in strategic sectors.
Last but not least, respect the decisions of the USMCA dispute resolution panels currently working.
The North American region has a great opportunity to consolidate itself as the most prosperous and competitive economic bloc on the planet. The conditions are right, but the politics could prove to be a big challenge.