More information about Mexico is available on the Mexico Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
U.S. relations with Mexico are strong and vital. The countries share a 2,000-mile border with 55 active land ports of entry. 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 development, education exchange, citizen security, drug control, migration, human trafficking, entrepreneurship, innovation, environmental protection, climate change, or public health. The scope of relations between the United States and Mexico is broad and goes beyond diplomatic and official relations. It encompasses extensive commercial, cultural, and educational ties. U.S. goods and services trade with Mexico totaled an estimated $577.3 billion in 2020. Mexico is currently our second largest goods trading partner with $536.7 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2020. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Mexico supported an estimated 1.1 million jobs in 2019 (latest data available). In addition in 2019, hundreds of thousands of people crossed the border legally each day. In addition, 1.6 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico, and Mexico is the top foreign destination for U.S. travelers.
The United States works closely with the Mexican government and international partners to combat the pandemic and reduce secondary economic effects in both countries. In March 2020, the United States, Mexico, and Canada agreed to restrict non-essential travel across borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while addressing the economic effects resulting from reduced mobility along the shared border. Additionally, the countries have held frequent coordination calls between high-level officials to discuss challenges and share information about the global pandemic while planning for safely re-opening the economies and commerce. The two countries have enabled the return home of thousands of their respective citizens; facilitated the maintenance of critical supplies of vital protective equipment and medical supplies; and ensured foreign citizens employed in essential economic sectors in the respective countries have been able to continue working under clear sanitary guidelines.
The United States is also working with Mexico to distribute vaccines. The United States has sent a total of 5.82 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Mexico as of August 2021 as a part of our ongoing solidarity with the people of Mexico as they recover from this devastating pandemic. Mexico has also donated vaccines to other countries in the hemisphere.
Bilateral Economic Issues and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement
Mexico is consistently among the United States’ top three trading partners and in 2020 was the United States’ second-largest export market (after Canada). In 2020, two-way trade in goods and services totaled $582.4 billion. In 2020, Mexico was the second-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. Other top U.S. exports to Mexico include machinery, electrical machinery, vehicles, mineral fuels, and plastics. The stock of foreign direct investment by U.S. companies in Mexico stood at $101.1 billion in 2020 while Mexican investment in the United States was $20.8 billion in 2020.
In 2020, all three countries began implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to address the needs of the 21st century economy and the trilateral Environmental Cooperation Agreement to develop an updated framework for environmental cooperation between the three countries. The USMCA entered into force on July 1, 2020. The USMCA supports mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in North America. The agreement is expected to generate job opportunities; improve worker protections; prevent forced labor; increase agricultural trade; produce new investments in vital manufacturing industries; protect intellectual property rights; create a similar set of environmental standards across the three countries; and move digital trade protections into the 21st century.
A key requirement of USMCA is a formal review of the agreement at least every six years. These periodic reviews are designed to ensure that the terms of the agreement remain beneficial for all parties, and to identify emerging issues for potential revisions. The agreement is set to terminate on July 1, 2036 but can be extended for an additional 16 years by all three countries after each review. Also, USMCA includes a Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to handle labor disputes. As of August, three cases have been filed using the RRM. In two of the cases, remediation plans have been agreed to and are in the process of being implemented.
Mexico is a strong promoter of trade liberalization, maintaining twelve trade agreements with 46 countries plus 32 investment promotion agreements, and nine limited economic agreements, including pacts with Japan, the European Union, and many Latin American partners. In 2012, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Peru launched the Pacific Alliance, an ambitious regional economic integration effort focused on liberalizing trade and investment, as well as facilitating the movement of citizens.
In addition, in September 2021, the United States and Mexico resumed the High Level Economic Dialogue. The dialogue is focused on building back together, promoting sustainable economic and social development in southern Mexico and Central America, securing the tools for future prosperity, and investing in our people. In 2019, the United States provided approximately $445 million in assistance to Mexico.
Mexico and the United States are committed partners in managing migration and helping to address its root causes. Mexico is a source, transit, and destination country for migrants and asylum seekers in the region. The U.S. government supports the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the International Committee of the Red Cross to support individuals in need of international protection in Mexico. UNHCR has worked with Mexico’s asylum agency, COMAR, to nearly triple Mexico’s asylum capacity since 2017. IOM has expanded shelter capacity in northern Mexico and managed COVID-19 mitigation efforts in shelters. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) builds the capacity of Mexico’s migration authority – the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) – to humanely manage migration and to coordinate with Mexican and U.S. law enforcement to secure borders. INL programming also increases the capacity of Mexican security and justice sector institutions to identify, investigate, and prosecute human smuggling and trafficking.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Mexican Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AMEXCID) are strengthening strategic and technical cooperation and promote development in Central America as included in the June 2021 Memorandum of Understanding signed by both governments. This MOU will enable the United States and Mexico to exchange knowledge, experiences, assets, and resources to address the root causes of irregular migration stemming from Central America. The United States and Mexico engage regional and international partners to build a more prosperous and secure Central America to address the underlying causes of migration, so that citizens of the region can build better lives for themselves and their families at home.
The border region represents a combined population of approximately 15 million people. Cooperation between the United States and Mexico along the 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. In 2010, the United States and Mexico created the 21st Century Border Management Initiative (21CB) to spur binational advancements to promote a modern, secure, and efficient border. High-level representatives from the U.S. and Mexican governments meet annually in the 21CB Executive Steering Committee (ESC) to adopt Action Plans that guide bilateral efforts to modernize and expand ports of entry along the shared border; facilitate the flow of trade and travelers between the two countries; and strengthen cooperation on public safety in the border region. In the March 2020 ESC, the delegations approved the 21st Century Border Management Initiative Strategy to collaborate more closely on promoting the shared border as a safe and competitive region, while also highlighting the key role it plays in the economic development and well-being of its communities.
The U.S. and Mexican governments also meet through the multi-agency Binational Bridges and Border Crossings Group (BBBXG) to advance joint initiatives that improve the efficiency of existing crossings and coordinate planning for new ones. The BBBXG meets three times a year and provides the ten U.S. and Mexican border states, private sector representatives, and other public participants the forum to discuss cross-border infrastructure. The BBBXG also discusses many federal, state, and local mechanisms that impact the border region, including Border Master Plans to coordinate infrastructure and development and close collaboration on transportation and customs issues.
The United States and Mexico have deep ties in science and technology cooperation, with collaborative research on health, meteorology, hydrology, earth sciences, and energy technology facilitated by the 1972 Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation. U.S. science agencies such as NOAA, NSF, NIST, NIH, USGS, NASA, and DOE are active participants in this work, contributing to a solid body of bilateral scientific research.
The United States and Mexico also have a long history of cooperation on environmental and natural resource issues, particularly in the border area, where there are challenges caused by rapid population growth, urbanization, industrialization, and climate change. Cooperative activities between the United States and Mexico take place under a number of arrangements, such as the North American Development Bank; the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation; the Border Health Commission; and a variety of other agreements that address health of border residents, wildlife, migratory birds, national parks, and similar issues.
The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), created by a treaty between the United States and Mexico, manages a wide variety of water resource and boundary preservation issues. The U.S. and Mexican Sections of the IBWC work closely to distribute treaty-stipulated portions of water from the Rio Grande and Colorado River to both countries. The IBWC also works to mitigate and prevent cross-border flows of untreated wastewater. In that capacity, the U.S. Section of IBWC is one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead partners in planning and implementing construction of major wastewater infrastructure – particularly in the Tijuana-San Diego area – under a $300 million appropriation provided as part of the USMCA implementation act.
U.S. Security Cooperation with Mexico
Security is a shared responsibility. Neither country can be secure if the other is not. Cooperation between Mexico and the United States has never been more vital in the fight to combat the deadly threat of illicit fentanyl, heroin, and synthetic drugs. The United States partners with Mexico to reduce the impact of illicit drugs on U.S. communities, dismantle criminal organizations, manage migration, improve citizen security, and reduce impunity, and promote human rights and the rule of law. U.S.-funded training, equipment, and technical assistance complement Mexico’s own investment in building the capacity of Mexican institutions and personnel to achieve these goals. Because of this collaboration, the shared border is more secure, information-sharing is more fluid, and Mexico benefits from professionally trained officials and state-of-the-art equipment to confront transnational crime.
In 2020, Mexican authorities in a variety of states maintained programming and law enforcement cooperation on human trafficking cases with the United States, including the INL-funded Department of Justice – Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT)-led training, which contributed to 13 convictions against human traffickers in the states of Michoacan, Chihuahua, and Mexico State.
Additionally, in 2020 Mexican authorities apprehended high-level target Hugo Hernandez-Velazquez in Tlaxcala state, pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant and cooperation from DHS-Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for violations of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy, interstate prostitution conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and racketeering. After the successful collaboration with Tlaxcala state on the arrest of Hernandez-Velazquez, DHS-HSI committed to a bilateral working relationship with the state of Tlaxcala to track and provide information to officials on the state’s top money remitters after cross-checking them with known human trafficking organizations. Tlaxcala state police then provided a list of targets wanted for crimes related to human trafficking. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs support Mexican efforts to address key challenges to improving citizen security. USAID programs help communities resist the effects of crime and violence while supporting Mexico’s implementation of criminal justice constitutional reforms that protect citizens’ rights.
The United States and Mexico partner to combat transnational organized crime and drug trafficking while strengthening human rights and the rule of law. Security cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies helps police, prosecutors, and judges share best practices and expand capacity to track criminals, drugs, arms, and money to disrupt the business model of transnational crime. Between 2008 and 2021, the United States appropriated $3.3 billion in equipment, training, and capacity building.
The United States and Mexico agreed to hold a cabinet-level security dialogue in order to enhance our cooperation to promote citizen security and attack transnational criminal organizations and their networks.
Educational and Cultural Exchanges
The United States has a robust series of educational and cultural programs with Mexico that support young leaders, students, civil society, and entrepreneurs. They provide English language learning, advance STEAM education, strengthen civil society, enhance security procedures, and expand economic opportunity. They include music and sports diplomacy; the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation; the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs; leadership programs such as Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action); the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative; the Study of the U.S. Institutes program which includes courses targeting indigenous and Afro-Mexican women; and English language teaching opportunities through English Access Microscholarships, English Language Fellowships, and Specialist positions.
The U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research (FOBESII) is a bilateral government initiative since 2012 that expands opportunities for educational exchanges, scientific research partnerships, and cross-border innovation between Mexico and the United States.
The Bilateral Forum (FOBESII) also supports the goals of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K) Innovation Fund. The 100K Innovation Fund is the trusted USG-branded public/private sector collaboration between the Department (WHA Bureau), U.S. embassies, and regional corporations, foundations, and higher education institutions (HEIs) that supports HEI-partnerships to create new models of short-term academic exchange and training opportunities for underserved students in the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico. For the last seven years, Mexico has been the top country in this hemispheric-wide education initiative to partner with U.S. higher education institutions. As of May 2021, the Innovation Fund has awarded 84 grants to teams of 113 higher education institutions in 28 U.S states and 20 Mexican states. 100K partnerships provide more students with critical access to new models of academic exchange and training programs that provide workforce development skills in STEM, public health, technology, financial inclusion, agriculture/food sciences, and other areas.
The Fulbright program in Mexico, initiated in 1948, is one of the largest in the world. The U.S.-Mexico Binational Fulbright Program (Fulbright-Garcia-Robles) sends about 100 grantees in each direction and receives approximately $5 million annually in contributions from the Governments of the United States and Mexico. Since the establishment of the binational Fulbright Commission in 1990 with joint U.S. and Mexican funding, more than 3,500 students on both sides of the border have received Fulbright-García-Robles scholarships. Fulbright alumni have risen to prominent positions in Mexican business, academics, culture, and politics.
The year 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Mexico treaty on the recovery and return of stolen archaeological, historical, and cultural properties. This was the first international treaty related to cultural property trafficking. Predating the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, this treaty demonstrates both countries’ leadership on this topic.
Mexico’s Membership in International Organizations
Mexico is a strong supporter of the United Nations and a member of several other regional organizations. Mexico was elected to a 2021-2022 non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council and a 2021-2023 seat on the UN Economic and Social Council. Mexico and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; International Energy Agency; International Monetary Fund, World Bank Inter-American Development Bank, World Trade Organization, International Maritime Organization, Organization of American States, and the Wassenaar Arrangement on conventional arms. Mexico is the 2020-2021 president pro tempore of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
The Department’s Key Officers List includes principal U.S. embassy and consulate officials in Mexico.
Mexico maintains an embassy in the United States at 1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006 (tel. 202-728-1600).
More information about Mexico is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Mexico Page
USAID Mexico Page
History of U.S. Relations With Mexico
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. Section Page
Department of Energy: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Analysis
Department of Commerce: 2014 Mid-Year Review of High Level Economic Dialogue Progress
Trilateral Agreement with United States, Canada, and Mexico to Expand Trusted Traveler Programs