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U.S. and Mexico get down to business

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Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker are in Mexico attending what’s called the High Level Economic Dialogue between the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. is Mexico’s largest trading partner, and Mexico is number three for us. This is the third year of these meetings with our neighbor to the south.

Shannon O’Neill, a senior fellow for Latin American studies at the Council on Foreign Relations admitted the talks may not be terribly exciting, but said they are very important for both countries.

“These are things, like regulations for particular industries [in Mexico], where to put particular border infrastructure, where to move around customs or other officials to make the flow of goods easier and faster,” she said.

Whether that’s been accomplished in the last couple of years is up for debate, although the Obama administration lists several projects officials say resulted from the talks. Duncan Wood is Director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center.

“I think it would be naive to expect of huge outcome from these meetings so far,” he said. “At this point, it’s important to recognize that the institutions have been created, the mechanisms have been created and they appear to be functioning very well. So, I think we are very much still in the socialization phase.”

At the meeting, Wood expects a focus on how the Trans Pacific Partnership will affect U.S.-Mexico trade, and how lower energy prices are affecting the competitiveness of U.S. and Mexican economies, especially in the manufacturing sector.

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