U.S. relations with Mexico are strong and vital. The two countries share a 2,000-mile border with 55 active ports of entry, and bilateral relations between the two have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, whether the issue is trade and economic reform, education exchange, citizen security, drug control, migration, entrepreneurship and innovation, or energy cooperation. The scope of U.S.-Mexican relations is broad and goes beyond diplomatic and official relations. It encompasses extensive commercial, cultural, and educational ties, with some 1.7 billion dollars of two-way trade and hundreds of thousands of legal border crossings each day. In addition, 1.5 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico, and Mexico is the top foreign destination for U.S. travelers.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Mexico is the United States’ second-largest export market (after Canada) and third-largest trading partner (after Canada and China). In 2018, two-way trade in goods and services totaled $678 billion. Mexico’s exports rely heavily on supplying the U.S. market, but the country has also sought to diversify its export destinations. About 80 percent of Mexico’s exports in 2018 went to the United States. In 2018, Mexico was the third-largest supplier of foreign crude oil to the United States, as well as the largest export market for U.S. refined petroleum products and U.S. natural gas.
The border region represents a combined population of approximately 15 million people. Cooperation between the United States and Mexico along our border includes coordinating with state and local officials on cross-border infrastructure, transportation planning, and security, as well as collaboration with institutions that address migration, natural resource, environment, and health issues.
Educational and Cultural Exchanges
The United States has a robust series of exchange programs with Mexico. These programs work with young leaders, students, civil society, and entrepreneurs. They assist in English language learning, and advance STEM education, especially for girls. They include music and sports diplomacy, the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, leadership programs like Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action), the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), the Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI), which target indigenous and Afro-Mexican populations, and English language programs such as the Access program, and English Language Fellows.
U.S. Security Cooperation with Mexico
Through the Merida Initiative, the United States and Mexico have forged a partnership to combat transnational organized crime and drug trafficking, while strengthening human rights and the rule of law. Merida fosters greater cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges as they share best practices and expand capacity to track criminals, drugs, arms, and money to disrupt the business model of transnational crime.