On the 7th of March, 2017 the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade organized an event with Ambassador Pál Varga-Koritár, a leading expert of Latin America and Iván Medveczky, the current Hungarian ambassador to Mexico. The discussion covered old and new challenges Mexico is facing after the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.
The ambassadors highlighted some old challenges: extreme inequality in both wealth and living standards of the Mexican society, as more than half of the population is living in poverty, an education system that is poor and unprepared for the huge language-diversity of the country. Meanwhile, economic growth has been quiet balanced in Mexico for decades, and it has a good basis for further growth. Answering a question of the host, Sándor Gyula Nagy, senior research fellow of IFAT, the experts explained that NAFTA is due for an “update” from the perspective of international law, however it contributed a lot to the economic growth, job-creation and FDI-inflow of Mexico in the last more than 20 years. It has to be stated though that NAFTA further strengthened the dependency of Mexico on the USA, which was high even before the agreement, considering the country’s geopolitical situation: 80 percent of the Mexican export goes to the USA and 70 percent of the FDI inflow comes from across its northern border. This dependency is worsened by the 27 billion USD worth remittances sent by Mexican citizens from the US back home in 2016, which is 2,5 per cent of the Mexican GDP. Both experts were mainly optimistic about the future of the bilateral relations of Mexico and the USA, and highlighted that both parties are interested the continuity of a reformed NAFTA and in good neighbourly relations.