"As illegal immigration from Mexico has dropped to historic lows," Selee wrote, "Mexican investors have started pouring billions of dollars into the U.S. economy."
Selee pointed out that Mexican companies are among the leaders of several industries and products in the United States, including bread, tortillas, wraps, milk, dairy products, hot dogs, lunch meat, prepaid wireless services, cement, auto parts, and more. Mexico’s Lala is the second largest producer of dairy products in the United States. Mexico’s America Movil owns TracFone, the largest prepaid wireless service. Mexico’s Cemex is the second largest cement manufacturer in the United States, "literally helping build the foundations of America’s cities and towns."
Although Mexico is the third-largest U.S. trading partner and second leading destination for exports after Canada, Selee explained that "many of the manufactured goods that flow across the border with Mexico are products that U.S. and Mexican firms assemble together in shared supply chains."
"In North America, we don’t compete for jobs as much as we build things together."
Citing a 2011 report by Christopher Wilson of the Wilson Center, Working Together: Economic Ties Between the United States and Mexico, Selee wrote that "40 percent… of what is assembled in Mexico — including cars, trains, helicopters, planes, computers and smartphones — is actually built in large part out of American-manufactured parts. In North America, we don’t compete for jobs as much as we build things together."
For Canada, that number is 25 percent, and for the European Union, India, China, and South Korea, that number is just two to five percent.
"The integrated supply chains that stretch from Mexico through the United States to Canada have helped keep major manufacturing industries in North America rather than moving across the ocean, and they have made these industries increasingly competitive in the global market," wrote Selee. "Millions of American jobs are tied directly or indirectly to these two flows — Mexican direct investment in U.S.-based manufacturing and joint manufacturing between the two countries."
Read the entire op-ed here.
Andrew Selee is a Pacific Council member, Executive Vice President of the Wilson Center, and the founding director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute. He has written extensively on U.S.-Mexico relations, Mexican politics, U.S. immigration policy, organized crime, and democracy in Latin America.
Want more on Mexico? Read about the Pacific Council’s Mexico Initiative, which aims to expand programming, strengthen outreach and recruitment efforts, and produce analysis and commentary to inform public discourse regarding the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship.