North America vs. The World

November 28, 2011

Last week I read a blog post from the U.S. Department of Commerce written by Under Secretary of Commerce Francisco J. Sanchez. His post was about the U.S. relationship with Mexico, and its importance. The post is informative and interesting, and prompted me to think about our competitive place in the world in a different way. Not only is the U.S. competing with other nations, but our geography (North America) is competing with Asia and Europe. It is imperative that we strengthen not only our own economy (which is a big enough task), but also have very close ties with our neighbors if any of us are to compete against other parts of the world.

Mexico seemingly has many advantages, the largest of which is its proximity to the largest, most lucrative market in the world – the United States of America. In fact, over one billion dollars of trade happens every day between the two countries. Yet it has severe problems – inflation increased substantially during the most recent global recession and parts of the country has become increasingly lawless because of the powerful and violent drug cartels. Both of these issues create additional risk for foreign investors and the Mexican workforce alike, yet it remains one of largest economies in the world. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, defined a developed country as follows: “A developed country is one that allows all its citizens to enjoy a free and healthy life in a safe environment.”

Our interests are clear, a more competitive, stable, friendly Mexican economy makes North America more competitive, the U.S. more competitive, and creates a competitive advantage versus Europe and Asia. China, India, and Europe face similar, if not a lot worse, challenges within their sphere of influence. We can imagine what it would be like if Mexico made significant progress in both GDP, per capita income, and its safety – but it will take great effort by both countries and smart economic development policy to make it happen.

Columbus2020! Update
Our team was in Atlanta last week calling on companies leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, and we hosted a foreign owned company seeking a new location in the U.S. market. We look forward to our investor’s event this Friday morning, December 2nd, at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), where we will hear a preview of our team’s 2012 program of work and hear from IMS Worldwide regarding the Columbus Region’s logistics prowess.