Associate Manager, Communications, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
December 18, 2023
2024 is set to be a monumental year with elections in both the U.S. and Mexico and increasing nearshoring opportunities in the Americas. As Mexico is the United States' biggest trade partner, we sat down with John Murphy, the Chamber’s new head of the international division, to discuss his thoughts on the U.S.- Mexico relationship and what lies ahead this coming year.
John Murphy was recently appointed Senior Vice President and Head of International at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A 25-year veteran of the Chamber, Murphy has directed its trade policy for more than a decade and led the Chamber’s Americas Department in the 2000s.
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.