Mexico summit snub could leave country vulnerable to trade disputes


The Mexican president’s decision this week to boycott an Americas leaders summit isn’t necessarily a black eye for the Biden administration, but the decision could impact trade policies between the two countries going forward. .

This is the assessment of Jorge Guajardo, former Mexican Ambassador to China and Mexican Consulate General in Austin.

López Obrardor said on Monday he was boycotting the Summit of the Americas rally due to President Joe Biden’s refusal to invite representatives from Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.

The snub comes as Texas continues to lead the country in the number of unauthorized immigrants apprehended at the border and Mexico continues to be Texas’ largest trading partner.

The Mexican government said on Monday that the country’s foreign secretary would go in place of López Obrador.

“It’s okay for President Biden. It’s not a humiliation, it’s not wrecking the Summit of the Americas or anything, but I think it brings a static to the relationship of [López Obrador]”, Guajardo said.

This tension, limited as it is, could make Mexico appear isolated and vulnerable to trade disputes similar to the border blockade imposed by Texas earlier this year.

In April, Governor Greg Abbott ordered state agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety to inspect tractor-trailers coming into the state from Mexico. The inspections have resulted in delays of several days for goods that would normally be inspected and processed within hours. Abbott ordered the inspections in retaliation for the Biden administration’s decision to lift a pandemic-era health policy that immediately deports most migrants. (The policy, Title 42, is still in place after a Louisiana-based federal judge blocked its expiration.)

“He cultivates no friends in the United States and therefore there is no political consequence in attacking him or his government as Governor Abbott did by closing the border,” Guajardo said. “The fact is, right now, no one wants to be the one to raise their voice on behalf of [López Obrador].”

In 2021, more than $661 billion in bilateral trade was exchanged between the United States and Mexico, according to US census data analyzed by CityWorld. The majority, about $243 billion, passed through the customs district of Laredo. The ports of El Paso accounted for approximately $85 billion, with the ports of Pharr, Eagle Pass and Brownsville also in the top 10. Texas trade relations with Mexico help maintain approximately 1 million jobs, according to the Texas Bureau of Economic Development and Tourism.

The Mexican president’s snub comes just three months after Mexico refused to sanction Russia for its unprovoked attack on Ukraine. Mexico voted in favor of a United Nations resolution condemning the invasion and demanding the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. But the country’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said in a report Mexico’s refusal to impose economic sanctions on Russia was consistent with decades of foreign policy that promotes a policy of peace and “non-intervention.” Arturo Sarukhan, who served as Mexico’s ambassador to the United States under Mexican President Felipe Calderon, said then that López Obrador was “blindly playing with fire.

With the decision not to attend the summit, Sarukhan said Lopez Obrador had just scored an “own goal” for his country’s long-term interests.

“López Obrador should realize that for a country like Mexico, not being at the table could mean that it ends up being on the menu, and that Mexican diplomacy, already impacted by Mexico’s inconsistent and disappointing positions regarding the invasion of Ukraine, means that the country – both regionally and globally – will continue to underweight on the international stage,” he said. wrote in an opinion piece for the Brookings Institution.

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Do you have any advice? Email Julián Aguilar at [email protected].You can follow Julián on Twitter @nachoaguilar.

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