Thursday, May 23, 2024

Meet Pedro Casas Alatriste, CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico

Mexico News Daily is committed to bringing more opinion and analysis to readers, including contributions by diplomats, policy experts, business leaders and journalists. 

Pedro Casas Alatriste is the Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico (AmCham). Previously, he has been the Director of Research and Public Policy at the US-Mexico Foundation in Washington, D.C. and the Coordinator of International Affairs at the Business Coordinating Council (CCE). He has also served as a consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank. 

Below you’ll find a Q&A with Casas that we did to introduce him to our readers. We are excited to bring his perspectives to you here at Mexico News Daily.

Tell us about your role at AmCham and what makes your point of view unique as an expert on Mexico-U.S. relations. 

As Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, I’m responsible for leading an organization with more than 60 employees across four offices in the country: Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Hermosillo. 

AmCham represents close to 1,400 companies related to the bilateral trade between Mexico and the United States. These companies account for 25% of Mexico’s GDP and employ over 9 million people across every industry in the economy. 

A substantial portion of the job is dedicated to talking and listening to our member companies’ CEOs and top executives, as well as high-level officials in both the Mexican and American governments. This gives me a unique and extremely wide vision of the bilateral relationship.

While I may not be an expert in every single industry within the economy, I do possess firsthand knowledge of both the positive and negative developments occurring across various economic sectors at the federal, state and municipal levels.

Why are you so passionate about Mexico-U.S. relations? 

It all starts from a personal hobby: I’m an avid reader of Mexican history. Looking back at least 200 years into the past, you can’t understand Mexico without understanding the United States’ history as well. We are two countries that have been intertwined even before we both achieved independence — and much more ever since.

Personally and professionally, I have been deeply involved in the bilateral relationship. I have worked and studied in various locations in the United States, including New York City, Washington D.C., Boston and Rhode Island. I’m convinced that we are stronger together and deeply believe in the concept of the North American region. If things go well in the U.S., Mexico will follow, and vice versa. 

What excites you about Mexico’s rising visibility and prominence on the global stage? 

Mexico’s rise on the global stage brings us closer to a more functional North American region. Let’s remember that NAFTA was a one-of-a-kind trade deal. It was the first time two developed countries signed a trade agreement with a developing country. Those asymmetries posed several difficulties in building the next stage of a deeper integrated region. I believe that as Mexico catches up in the developing process, we can all envision a new paradigm for the regional and global economy.

How do you hope the world sees Mexico differently in the coming one to two years? 

Mexico is now the nearshoring hub as well as the epicenter of North America. Mexico will become one of the most relevant export platforms to the world, as well as the capital for digital nomads, film, art, culture, gastronomy and [more]. In other words, this country has the potential to become not only an economic and industrial powerhouse but a cultural one as well. 

Why is it important that people living in Mexico follow the U.S. presidential election? 

As I mentioned before, Mexico and the U.S. are deeply interconnected. U.S. politics can have a direct effect on the Mexican economy and political system, especially now when many of our shared pressing issues depend on a regional solution: security, illegal flows of arms and drugs, migration and trade. 

Why is it important that people globally follow the Mexican presidential election? 

Mexico will most likely become the first North American country to elect a woman as president. This sets a new precedent in the region. 

Furthermore, due to the ideological equilibriums in Latin America, Mexico, as a leading economy in the hemisphere, could [soon] increase the dominance of leftist governments or counterbalance with a right-wing president — both [due to] women. 

What inspired you to contribute to Mexico News Daily? 

I see in Mexico News Daily a project with a clear and truthful mission. I share MND’s vision of [bringing] a Mexican perspective to the world written in English for a broader audience. 

Where are your favorite places to visit in Mexico, and why? 

Depends on your preferences. If you are looking for an outstanding food scene along with cultural heritage, I would go to Oaxaca city and its surroundings. If you are looking for beautiful beaches and to explore Maya culture, I would visit Bacalar and the Riviera Maya. 

If you are looking for the epicenter of culture, politics, and history, and the rise of a great civilization, I would definitely spend some time in Mexico City. If you aim to have good wine, visit colorful towns, [and] understand the birth of Mexico’s independence from Spain, I would visit the Bajío region, especially Querétaro, Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende. 

If you want to experience a true tequila experience alongside mariachis, you must go to Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque in the state of Jalisco. If you want to visit the most extensive maritime biodiversity and a unique contrast where the desert and the ocean meet, go to the Baja California Peninsula, the Valle de Guadalupe and the Sea of Cortés [Gulf of Californina].

If you could describe your career in two words, what would they be and why? 

Connecting people. I’ve dedicated all my life to building bridges between people and institutions in order to advance new ideas, projects and solutions. 

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra? 

If not now, when? If not you, who?

You will be able to read columns written by Pedro Casas on Mexico News Daily starting on April 12.

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