On July 1st, 2018 history was made in Mexico.  Receiving over 53% of the votes, the most a candidate has won since 1982, the leftist politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) was elected Mexico’s next President.  According to the Wall Street Journal, after the landslide victory, Mexico’s currency appreciated 3.6%, and the stock market’s benchmark index rose 1.9%. This historical event comes with uncertainties as to how the President-Elect AMLO will affect the currently shaky US-Mexico relations.

Here is what we know about AMLO:

  • He is not new to politics and has run for the presidency three times (Nearly won in 2006 & 2012 elections)
  • Founder of the political party The National Regeneration Movement, or MORENA
  • Former Mayor of Mexico City and left the office with an 84% approval rating
  • Platform focused on crime, economic growth, central bank’s autonomy, migration, and US Relations
  • Foregoes security while in public – a dangerous endeavor in Mexico where over 120 politicians have been assassinated in 2018, alone.

US-Mexico Relations

Similar to the US’ President Trump, President-Elect AMLO is a nationalist and will not bend to threats or sign anything that will jeopardize economic stability for his country. Many have speculated that this will not go smoothly based on both of the Presidents’ agendas.   President-Elect AMLO would like to gain respect from the US and continue with a relationship that is beneficial for both countries.

So far, contrary to popular opinion, President Trump and President-Elect AMLO have been cordial with each other.  President Trump congratulated the new President-Elect on his Twitter account and on July 2nd the two officials had a conversation over the phone.  Although both parties have different agenda, they left the conversation with mutual respect and optimism that they can find a middle ground for NAFTA.

In the last couple of months, the US and Mexico increased tariffs on imports.  Reported by CNN, Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs last month. Mexico, the third-largest trading partner to the United States, fired back, slapping tariffs on US exports including pork, apples, cheese, and bourbon.  This volatile relationship could harm both economies if these two officials can’t come up with an agreed upon trade agreement.  The US Chamber of Commerce projects that more than 1.7 million jobs depend on trade with Mexico through the North American Free Trade Agreement.

President-Elect AMLO is set to take the presidential oath in December. Thus far, it looks like there will be either a reworked NAFTA agreement or potentially a separate agreement with just Mexico and the US.