How Mexico Creates American Jobs
By Andrew Selee and Christopher Wilson.
Our southern neighbor buys 13% of all U.S. exports.
Mexico has recently been thought of more as a supplier of drugs than of jobs, but as the United States prepares to receive Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Washington on April 2, it is time to reconsider our southern neighbor. After all, Mexico and Canada, not China and Great Britain, are the nation’s top export markets, and six million Americans already have jobs that depend on U.S.-Mexico trade.
The equation is pretty simple: New exports create new U.S. jobs. This is why President Obama launched the National Exports Initiative, with the goal of doubling exports by 2015, and this is why it is hard to conceive of a strategy for creating jobs that does not significantly strengthen regional economic cooperation with our two neighboring countries, which together receive a third of all U.S. exports.
Mexico alone receives 13% of U.S. exports. Yet like many emerging markets, Mexico’s economy is growing faster than America’s, at 5.4% in 2010 and at about 3.9% in 2011. Unlike most other emerging markets, Mexico buys the vast majority of its imports from the U.S. As Mexico grows, so do its imports from the U.S. It is not just Texas and California that export to Mexico, but also Michigan, Illinois and 16 other states that each sell more than $1 billion worth of goods to Mexico every year.
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