By: Alexandra Rattinger
The recent presidential election of Donald Trump has left countless Americans with feelings of uncertainty, waiting anxiously to see if Trump makes good on many of his radical platform promises. However, no other country is likely to be as directly affected by Trump’s victory as Mexico, a country with tremendous ties to the United States. With roughly 12 million Mexicans living in the United States and almost half lacking legal status, the 2016 election could affect Mexico in a substantial way.
Throughout the election period, Trump ran his platform on issues that would involve Mexico, as well as Mexican citizens living within the United States. Such issues included building a wall between Mexico and the United States (and demanding that Mexico pay for it), radically amending or ending the free-trade agreement between the two countries, and potentially deporting millions of undocumented immigrants. Moreover, Trump was in no way timid in his crude classification of Mexicans. Trump called Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists during the election and consequently created a major rift between those who support a firmer stance on immigration and those who fight to protect the rights of immigrants and illegals living within the United States. Trump’s rhetoric and his proposed policies could have tremendous political and economic ramifications for Mexico, the United States’ third-largest trading partner. The economic ramifications were readily apparent on the Thursday following the election, with the Mexican peso dropping to a record low against the dollar.
While Mexico may have anxiously anticipated the possibility of a Trump victory, it appears that the Mexican president, President Enrique Peña Nieto, is doing what he can to keep a stable relationship with Trump. Peña Nieto called Trump on Wednesday to congratulate Trump and insist that the two meet before the January inauguration. While it is important that a peaceful relationship ensues between Mexico and the United States, Mexico and Mexican citizens within the United States should remain concerned if, for example, Trump does withdraw from NAFTA and consequently create major economic insecurity for Mexico. Mexico is preparing, however, to pursue more free-trade agreements in order to decrease Mexico’s dependency on the United States, said Mexican senator Marcela Guerra of Peña Neito’s Institutional Revolutionary Party.
It is critical that Trump remember that more than 80% of Mexico’s exports come into the United States and roughly 6 million United States jobs depend on Mexican trade. Thus, while Mexico depends on the United States in a substantial way, the United States in turn largely relies on Mexico. Mexico has remained an important ally to the United States and Trump must work to ensure that the United States’ relationship with Mexico not only exists, but endures for the future of both nations.