On July 1, 2018, as many Americans reluctantly begin to think about the forthcoming midterm elections, and with the primary season in full swing, another non-U.S. election will occupy the minds of policymakers in Washington and a number of state capitals.
On that day, Mexicans go to the polls to elect a new president, 128 federal senators, five hundred federal deputies and nine state governors, as well as mayors and state congressional representatives. For most Americans, this election will be just another item in their news feed, but it may also turn out to be a more significant political juncture for the United States—more so than anything else that might happen in 2018.
Though Mexico has been in the headlines in the United States for the past two years, first as an issue in the 2016 election campaign and then as grist for the mill in the Trump administration’s trade agenda, most Americans remain shockingly unaware of the importance of the bilateral relationship that the United States maintains with its southern neighbor.
Although it is true that there is a substantial trade deficit with Mexico, it is the United States’ third largest trade partner (in 2016 this amounted to almost $600 billion), the second largest importer of American goods and services, and it is the first or second export market for twenty-nine states.
The United States has substantial surpluses in the bilateral energy and services trade. Mexico is also a crucial element in the North American manufacturing platform that guarantees the competitiveness of thousands of American firms, and is directly tied to almost five million U.S. jobs.
Source: National Interest.org