World Views
12:05 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

How Mexico Is Becoming An Economic Powerhouse And Immigrant Destination

Mexico City, Mexico.
Credit Sam Beebe / Flickr Creative Commons
Listen to Suzette Grillot's conversation with Alan McPherson, the ConocoPhillips Petroleum Chair of Latin American Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Over the last decade, the foreign-born population in Mexico has nearly doubled, and the country is turning into an immigrant destination – especially for American citizens.

The New York Times reported Sunday that International Monetary Fund data shows Mexico’s economy outpaced the United States, Canada and Brazil in 2011 and 2012.

University of Oklahoma International and Area Studies Professor Alan McPherson is an expert on U.S.-Latin America relations. He says Mexico’s economy is more diverse than it’s ever been, but there’s a downside to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other aspects of globalization.

“The winners are the immigrants, and those are the people interviewed in the article, but the losers often have to leave Mexico,” McPherson says. “They end up in the United States. Sometimes they have to go back to Mexico, so they’re not considered a very innovative or creative people, but they’re a very large proportion of the population.”

Damien Cave writes Mexico could strengthen its economic position by taking advantage of American demand for Chinese goods and services:

Mexico has another shot. If the country of 112 million people can harness the energy of foreigners and newly educated Mexicans, become partners with the slew of American firms seeking alternatives to China, and get them to do more than just hire cheap labor, economists and officials say Mexico could finally become a more equal partner for the United States and the first-world country its presidents have promised for decades.

“Salaries are going up in China,” McPherson says. “Transportation costs are much higher from China than from Mexico. So to a certain extent, Mexico is benefitting from trends that have nothing to do with Mexico. They’re global trends.”

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