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U.S. Chamber of Commerce's John Murphy Discusses U.S.-Mexico Relations and Nearshoring Opportunities in Anticipation of 2024 Elections

In anticipation of the upcoming elections in both the United States and Mexico, 2024 is poised to be a pivotal year with significant developments in the U.S.-Mexico relationship and growing nearshoring opportunities in the Americas. John Murphy, the newly appointed Senior Vice President and Head of International at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, shared his insights on these matters.

Having served as a 25-year veteran of the Chamber, Murphy brings a wealth of experience to his new role. With over a decade dedicated to directing the Chamber's trade policy and previous leadership of the Americas Department in the 2000s, he is well-equipped to navigate the complex dynamics of international relations.

Q: How would you describe the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the U.S.? 

Murphy: Not only is Mexico the largest U.S. trading partner, but there’s probably no country in the world where there’s more untapped potential for closer business partnerships. That may sound like exaggeration, given the rapid expansion in trade and investment, but it isn’t. In fact, the most serious impediment to really unleashing this potential is bad policy choices — and l’m optimistic about North America’s direction of travel here. 

Q:​ 2024 will be historic year with elections in both the U.S. and Mexico. What is your vision for the private sector in Mexico in 2024? What do we want from both prospective leaders to enhance the commercial relationship and economic growth? Which policy areas should we keep an eye out for and why? 

Murphy: Election years are when you set the agenda for the work that comes next. This is a year for business to engage, speak out, and be specific about what policies are working — and what needs a course correction. It’s imperative that business have a seat at the table: The capital expenditure plans and hiring decisions that elected officials hope to foster all depend on good government policy, transparent and predictable regulation, reasonable taxation, and keeping the trade lanes open. No other stakeholder knows what business knows about how to do this. 

Q: The Chamber was a leading partner in the negotiations of the USMCA and the sunset clause will open the door for consultations on USMCA in 2026.  What does the Chamber think should be the consensus? Should we review the treaty but without revisions, or should we actively think about what could be improved in 2026? 

Murphy: It’s time to “sunset” the term sunset clause. What the agreement presents is a review by the three governments of how the agreement is working in 2026. There’s no magic wand that allows one party to rewrite the agreement without concurrence by the other two or by our respective legislatures, if changes to law are contemplated. Everything will depend on give and take — and a cooperative approach. 

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