U.S.-Mexico relations need work
By Matthew Thomson - Staff Reporter
The United States and Mexico have common economic interests despite a strained cultural relationship, a representative of the Mexican Consulate in Seattle told a Highline audience last week.
Luis Mingo head of the office of political and economic relations for the Mexican Consulate in Seattle spoke to students and faculty about the relationship and history between the United States and Mexico.
Mingo illustrated some of the misconceptions Americans have about Mexico by asking the entire room whether there are more Mexicans returning to Mexico as opposed to migrating to the United States. The answer is that more Mexicans are moving back to Mexico.
Mingo also spoke about the purpose of consulates and the lucrative trade between the United States and Mexico.
Approximately 12 percent of Washington's population is Mexican or of Mexican parentage. The perception that there are more east Asian migrants than Mexicans is wrong. Mexicans comprise a larger proportion of the population, Mingo said.
"If Mexico and the U.S. had a marriage, the two countries would probably be in couple's therapy," Mingo said speaking of the current strained but lucrative relationship between Mexico and the United States.
The trade between the United States and Mexico is worth [approximately] $1 million every minute, he said.
A Mexican consulate offers aid for citizens of Mexico in distress, but this service is only offered if the Mexican government believes its citizens are being discriminated against within the United States.
"Mexico does not interfere within the internal affairs of its neighbors. The consulate would offer service on a case-by-case basis," Mingo said.
A consulate also does political, economic and cultural outreach to the city in which it is located. For example, the Mexican Consulate in Seattle provides mariachi dances at Seattle events.
As for economic outreach, several Washington companies have operations in Mexico. Companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing, etc. all either maintain operations in Mexico or have major facilities in Mexico, Mingo said.
Eighty percent of all Mexican exports are sent to the United States.
A contentious issue within the NAFTA nations are minimum wage laws. Canada has been requesting both Mexico and the United States institute higher minimum wages.
Geographically, the further south in North America you go, the less you get paid, Mingo said.
For the most part, economic self-interest convinces the Canadians not to push the issue too far. The Mexicans only want to improve wage laws a bit.
"Mexico needs to do better," Mingo said.
Both countries are seeking to maintain their mutually beneficial relationships with the United States, he said.
The American administration's repeated generalizations and demonizations of Mexicans is not helpful.
"[It is] quite an accomplishment to insult 130 million people at once," he said.
Mingo also stated that the Mexican government will not be funding the construction of a border wall.