Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mexit, meet Brexit

As we returned on the bus from Mexico City on Sunday, we approached the city of Querétaro and the sight was one of explosive economic growth.

Indeed this city of nearly one million is the fastest-growing in the country right now. There are brand-new expressways, shopping centers, residential and commercial construction everywhere you turn.

Behind this growth during the past several years are dozens of industrial parks with huge hangar-like steel structures housing some Mexican but mostly foreign companies such as the France's Airbus (helicopter assembly) and Canada's Bombardier (jet engine components).

Although I didn't do a headcount, the largest number of tenants seemed to be American companies, attracted to Mexico by its low labor and operating costs. Call it the upside of free-trade.

Industrial parks in Queretaro.
What would happen to this feverish economic activity if the U.S. embarked on a nasty, Brexit-like divorce from Mexico, particularly if the grounds were Donald Trump's xenophobia and demagoguery rather rational economic calculations?

I suspect the results might resemble the mounting crisis now shaking the United Kingdom. Brexit was sold as an nationalistic and economic elixir but in fact it was poisoned by immigrant bashing and intolerance. It may turn out to be a case of the normally cold-headed Brits cutting off their noses to spite their ears.

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