The following is from the Dec. 30, 2016, edition of The Dallas Morning News. James Hollifield, director of SMU's John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, provided expertise for this story.
January 4, 2017
By Alfredo Corchado
MEXICO CITY — Mexican and U.S. business leaders are quietly strengthening coalitions from America's heartland to North Texas to persuade a skeptical Donald J. Trump to maintain strong ties between the two countries. The president-elect has sent ambiguous signals over future and past trade deals and building a wall, or perhaps just a fence along the border with Mexico.
To help gain leverage with Trump, Mexico is also pondering several options, including replacing Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu with former Finance Minister Luis Videgaray, according to three senior Mexican officials with knowledge of the plans.
The plan is to make the case that Mexico is not China and should be treated not as an adversary, but as an ally on matters ranging from economic to cultural integration, with security the critical glue binding both sides, business and policy leaders on both sides of the border said.
North Texas is key in that effort.
"You have powerful people from Mexico talking, drinking, having dinner with very powerful Texas people," said James Hollifield, director of the Tower Center at SMU and a founding member of the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center.
"These guys and gals have known each other for years," he said. "They will push this agenda. You will see a powerful binational coalition forming between these two countries. That's what I have been watching take place over the past 20 years and I'd be surprised if that's not happening again."
Nearly 5 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico, with more than $400 billion in goods and services crisscrossing the border. Of that figure, $179 billion is between Texas and Mexico.
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