Mexico’s president elect, Enrique Peña Nieto, wants to realign common priorities in its relationship with the United States. The first step is his meeting with President Obama today at the White House.
Peña Nieto, according to what he wrote on the Washington Post, wants to focus on the economy as the main tie, setting aside the issues of drugs and security that predominated during Felipe Calderón’s administration.
To that end, the Mexican politician hopes to reinforce NAFTA and Mexico’s position as a manufacturing center with foreign investment to supply American consumers.
Mexico’s image in general is awful for average Americans who hear about repeated violence and warnings against traveling to certain parts of Mexico.
However, this image is not the same for businesses, which see Mexico as a friendly country to foreign investment, with a growing middle class and a solid GDP. At the same time, the changes to be made by Peña Nieto in the Mexican power industry will be of much interest to the U.S.
Anyway, the bilateral agenda cannot ignore drug trafficking, especially the impact that the legalization of marihuana in some U.S. states. Also the issue of the situation of millions of undocumented Mexicans who might benefit from a treaty. Mexican leaders must recognize they can do little on an internal policy issue like immigration.
The PRI’s return to power breaks 12 years of PAN governments and Peña Nieto wants to launch a new era in the Mexico-U.S. relationship. A new period starts with the Washington visit.