July 20, 2024

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U.S. Relations With Mexico – United States Department of State

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More information about Mexico is available on the Mexico Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


In 2022, the United States and Mexico celebrated 200 years of diplomatic relations. By virtue of shared geography, history, and deep cultural and people-to-people ties, Mexico remains one of the United States’ closest and most valued partners.  The countries share a 2,000-mile border with 47 active land ports of entry.  This bilateral relationship directly impacts the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, whether the issue is trade and economic development, education exchange, citizen security, drug control, migration, human trafficking, entrepreneurship, innovation, environmental protection, climate change, or public health.  The broad scope of relations between the United States and Mexico extends beyond diplomatic and official relations.  It encompasses extensive commercial, cultural, and educational exchange.  Hundreds of thousands of people cross the border legally each day.  In addition, an estimated 1.6 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico, and Mexico is the top foreign destination for U.S. travelers.

Bilateral Economic Issues and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

Mexico became the top U.S. trading partner in early 2023, with bilateral trade totaling $263 billion in the first four months of the year and accounting for more than 15 percent of total U.S. trade.  In 2022, U.S. goods and services trade with Mexico reached $863 billion, making Mexico our second-largest trading partner. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Mexico totaled $362.5 billion in 2022, which accounted for 13 percent of total U.S. exports and 43 percent of Mexican imports.  U.S. exports supported an estimated 1.1 million jobs in 2019 (latest data available).

In 2022, Mexico remained the second-largest source of foreign crude oil to the United States as well as the top destination for U.S. petroleum product exports and U.S. natural gas.  Other top U.S. exports to Mexico include machinery, electrical machinery, vehicles, mineral fuels, and plastics.  The stock of foreign direct investment by U.S. companies in Mexico stood at $130.3 billion in 2022 while Mexican stock investment in the United States was over $33.8 billion in 2022, according to the Department of Commerce.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) entered into force on July 1, 2020, replacing NAFTA as the free trade agreement for North America.  The USMCA supports mutually beneficial trade leading to freer markets, fairer trade, and robust economic growth in North America.  The agreement generates job opportunities, improves worker protections, prevents forced labor, increases agricultural trade, produces new investments in vital manufacturing industries, protects intellectual property rights, creates similar environmental standards across the three countries, and updates digital trade protections.

The USMCA requires a formal review of the agreement at least every six years.  These periodic reviews are designed to ensure that the terms of the agreement remain beneficial for all parties and to identify emerging issues for potential revisions.  The agreement is set to terminate on July 1, 2036, but can be extended for an additional 16 years by all three countries after each review.  Also, USMCA includes a Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) to handle plant-level labor disputes related to denial of rights.  As of July 2023, twelve cases had been filed using the RRM.

Mexico, a strong promoter of trade liberalization, maintains thirteen trade agreements with 50 countries plus 32 investment promotion agreements, and nine limited economic agreements, including pacts with Japan, the European Union, and many Latin American partners.

On September 12, 2022, senior government officials from the United States and Mexico met in Mexico City to convene the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED).  The next HLED meeting will be held in Washington, D.C. in September 2023.  The dialogue focuses on building back together to improve the regional business environment and strengthen supply chain resilience, promoting sustainable economic and social development in southern Mexico and Central America, securing the tools for future prosperity by supporting regulatory compatibility in the information, communication, telecom, and infrastructure sectors, supporting micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development and equipping our workforces with the skills to succeed in the modern global economy.  The Department of Commerce, the Department of State, and the U.S. Trade Representative co-chair the annual cabinet-level dialogue.  Periodic updates related to the HLED are published at www.trade.gov/hled where stakeholders may submit input.

The United States and Mexico maintain deep ties in science and technology cooperation, with collaborative research on health, meteorology, hydrology, earth sciences, and energy technology facilitated by the 1972 Agreement on Scientific and Technical Cooperation.  U.S. science agencies such as NOAA, NSF, NIST, NIH, USGS, NASA, and DOE contribute to a solid body of bilateral scientific research.  In 2021, Mexico joined 21 other countries in signing the Artemis Accords with NASA, outlining the principles and rules to enhance governance of the responsible exploration of outer space.


The United States works with Mexico to address the root causes of irregular migration and to implement humane migration management policies that prioritize control and security for our respective borders; respect for the human rights of migrants; and access to international protection for those in need.  Mexico is a member of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), an eleven-member consultative mechanism to coordinate regional migration policies.  RCM member countries commit to addressing issues of international migration in a multilateral context that respects orderly movements and human rights.  Mexico also participates in the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework, known by its Spanish acronym MIRPS — a regional application of the Global Compact for Refugees wherein countries collaborate to prevent and respond to forced displacement within their borders and regionally.  The United States supports MIRPS efforts as a member and incoming chair of its parallel donor Support Platform and with humanitarian funding contributions through international organizations.

The United States and Mexico have expanded cooperation to address the root causes of migration and manage our shared border in a humane and orderly way.  The U.S. government supports international organization and NGO partners to respond to the needs of asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced persons, and vulnerable migrants in Mexico.  With USG funds, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) assisted the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) to increase its asylum case registration and processing capacity by 400 percent since 2018.  The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) builds the capacity of Mexico’s border and migration officials to humanely manage migration and to coordinate with Mexican and U.S. law enforcement to secure borders.  INL programming also increases the capacity of Mexican security and justice sector institutions to identify, investigate, and prosecute human smuggling and trafficking.

Between 2021 and 2023, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Mexican Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AMEXCID) have worked closely with state governments in southern Mexico to link Micro, Small, and Medium Sized Enterprises with markets and investors and have trained farmers on conservation techniques and access to markets and finance, benefiting more than 40,000 people to date.

In June 2021, USAID and AMEXCID signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen development cooperation in northern Central America.  This MOU supports U.S. and Mexican efforts to exchange knowledge, experiences, assets, and resources to address the root causes of irregular migration in northern Central America.  In December 2021, the United States and Mexico announced Sembrando Oportunidades, a bilateral framework with goals, projects, and indicators to carry out this cooperation to address the root causes of migration from Central America. Through Sembrando Oportunidades, USAID and AMEXCID coordinate every day and have jointly reached nearly 2,000 farmers and youth in Honduras and El Salvador with interventions that provide them with greater economic opportunity. Based on the Sembrando Oportunidades model, Canada has now joined AMEXCID and USAID to coordinate foreign assistance to northern Central America to address the root causes of migration in northern Central America.

U.S.-Mexico Border

The border region represents a combined population of approximately 15 million people.  Cooperation between the United States and Mexico along the border includes coordinating with state and local officials on cross-border infrastructure, transportation planning, and security as well as collaboration with institutions that address migration, natural resource, environment, and health issues.

In November 2021, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a historic investment in U.S. infrastructure that included approximately $1.4 billion for construction and modernization projects at land ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.  During their July 2022 meeting, Presidents Biden and Lopez Obrador reaffirmed their commitment to create borders that are more resilient, more efficient, and safer and that will enhance our shared commerce.  The joint effort seeks to align priorities, unite border communities, and make the flow of commerce and people more secure and efficient.  Mexico committed to invest $1.5 billion on border infrastructure between 2022 and 2024.

In 2010, the United States and Mexico created the 21st Century Border Management Initiative (21CB) to spur binational advancements to promote a modern, secure, and efficient border.  High-level representatives from the U.S. and Mexican governments meet annually in the 21CB Executive Steering Committee to adopt action plans that guide bilateral efforts to modernize and expand ports of entry along the shared border; facilitate the flow of trade and travelers between the two countries; and strengthen cooperation on public safety in the border region.

The U.S. and Mexican governments also meet through the multi-agency Binational Bridges and Border Crossings Group (BBBXG) to advance joint initiatives that improve the efficiency of existing crossings and coordinate planning for new ones.  The BBBXG meets three times a year and provides the ten U.S. and Mexican border states, private sector representatives, and other public participants a forum to discuss cross-border infrastructure.  The BBBXG also discusses many federal, state, and local mechanisms that impact the border region, including Border Master Plans to coordinate infrastructure and development and close collaboration on transportation and customs issues.  The most recent BBBXG meeting took place in July 2023 in Washington, D.C.

The United States and Mexico also have a long history of cooperation on environmental and natural resource issues, particularly in the border area, where there are challenges caused by rapid population growth, urbanization, industrialization, and climate change.  Cooperative activities between the United States and Mexico take place under several mechanisms, such as the North American Development Bank; the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation; the Border Health Commission; and a variety of other agreements that address health of border residents, wildlife, migratory birds, national parks, and similar issues.

The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), created by a treaty between the United States and Mexico, manages a wide variety of water resource and boundary preservation issues.  The U.S. and Mexican Sections of the IBWC work closely to distribute treaty-stipulated portions of water from the Rio Grande and Colorado River to both countries.  The IBWC also works to mitigate and prevent cross-border flows of untreated wastewater.  In that capacity, the U.S. Section of IBWC is one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead partners in planning and implementing construction of major wastewater infrastructure – particularly in the Tijuana-San Diego area – under a $300 million appropriation provided as part of the USMCA implementation act.

U.S. Security Cooperation with Mexico

Security is a shared responsibility.  Neither country can be secure if the other is not.  Cooperation between Mexico and the United States has never been more vital in the fight to combat the deadly threat of illicit fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, and other drugs.  We are committed to cooperation with Mexico to better protect the health and safety of our citizens and promote the development of the most vulnerable communities in both countries, prevent criminal organizations from harming our countries, and pursue and bring criminals to justice.

The United States partners with Mexico to reduce the impact of illicit drugs on U.S. and Mexican communities, dismantle criminal organizations, manage migration, improve citizen security, reduce criminal impunity, combat illicit arms trafficking, and promote human rights and the rule of law.  U.S.-funded training, equipment, and technical assistance complement Mexico’s own investment in building the capacity of Mexican institutions and personnel to achieve these goals.

Through the Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities, adopted at the 2021 High-Level Security Dialogue, the United States and Mexico are increasing joint efforts to combat production of synthetic and other illicit drugs; working to better understand and reduce drug demand; increasing drug interdictions; pursuing the illicit financial flows that fund transnational criminal organizations ; working to prosecute and convict transnational criminal organizations; and reducing the amount of illicit firearms, bulk cash, and other illicit goods crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.  Because of this collaboration, the shared border is more secure, information sharing is more fluid, and both countries benefit from professionally trained officials and state-of-the-art equipment to confront transnational crime.  The next High-Level Security Dialogue will take place in October 2023 in Mexico City.

The United States and Mexico partner to combat transnational organized crime and drug trafficking while strengthening human rights and the rule of law.  Between 2008 and 2023, the United States appropriated approximately $3.4 billion in equipment, training, and capacity building for Mexican justice and law enforcement sectors.  Security cooperation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies helps police, prosecutors, and judges share best practices and expand capacity to track criminals, precursor chemicals, drugs, arms, and money to disrupt transnational crime.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs support Mexican efforts to improve citizen security.  USAID programs help communities resist the effects of crime and violence while supporting Mexico’s implementation of criminal justice constitutional reforms that protect citizens’ rights.

Educational and Cultural Exchanges

The United States has a robust series of educational and cultural programs with Mexico that support young leaders, students, civil society, and entrepreneurs.  They provide English language learning, advance STEAM education, identify and advise on U.S. higher education opportunities, strengthen civil society, enhance security procedures, and expand economic opportunity.  They include music and sports diplomacy such as the International Sports Programming Initiative, Sports Visitor  and Sports Envoy  programs, the Global Sports Mentoring Program , and the e-sports leadership program for youth; the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation; the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs; the U.S. Speaker Program; leadership programs such as Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action); the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative; the Study of the U.S. Institutes program which includes courses targeting indigenous and Afro-Mexican women; Arts Envoy  and American Music Abroad Programming focused on engagement with underserved communities; the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the TechCamp Program, and English language opportunities for teachers and learners through such high-demand initiatives as the English Access Microscholarship, Online Professional English Network (OPEN), and English Language Virtual Educator, Fellow  & Specialist programs.  There are over 40,000 alumni of U.S. government-funded or sponsored exchange programs.

EducationUSA has 23 advising centers throughout Mexico, which provide free and unbiased information on U.S. higher education opportunities to Mexican students.  Mexico is the ninth highest source worldwide of international students to the United States (and the sixth highest source to U.S. community colleges).  Mexico is the twelfth highest study abroad destination worldwide for U.S. students.  The EducationUSA Opportunity Funds program assists highly qualified Mexican students who are likely to be awarded full financial aid from U.S. colleges and universities but lack the financial resources to cover the up-front costs to apply, such as testing, application fees, or airfare.  Many of these students receive offers of admission and generous scholarships from U.S. higher education institutions.

The Fulbright Program in Mexico is one of the largest in the world.  Since 1948, nearly 9,000 students, scholars, and teachers have received Fulbright awards, and many have risen to prominent positions in business, academics, culture, and politics.  The binational Fulbright Commission – COMEXUS: the U.S.-Mexico Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange – was established in 1990 via an agreement between both governments.  Funding to support Fulbright-COMEXUS exchange programs comes from annual contributions from the Department of State (e.g. ECA and Post) and Mexico (e.g. SRE and SEP).  In keeping with the binational spirit of the program, since 1992, all Fulbright grants administered by the Commission are referred to as Fulbright-Garcia Robles grants, in honor of Mexican Ambassador Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Alfonso Garcia Robles.

Mexico is also a significant participant in BridgeUSA, a cultural and educational program that offers exchanges in 13 different categories.  Mexico is one of the few countries with post-pandemic levels of participation greater than before COVID-19.  In 2019, 9,808 Mexicans started new programs, while 10,339 started new programs in 2020.  Currently, there are 14,183 active exchange visitors from Mexico participating in BridgeUSA.  The three categories with the most exchange visitors are Summer Work Travel (5,501), Camp Counselor (3,221), and Au Pair (2,838).

The Jóvenes en Acción exchange is a partnership between the Department of State, the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública), the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and the embassy’s private partners.  Since 2010, ECA and Mission Mexico have brought nearly 900 high school students from Mexico to the United States for a four-week exchange program focused on leadership development, civic engagement, and community service.  The exchange participants apply in groups of three to four with a teacher who serves as a mentor when they return home and implement a service project to address an issue plaguing their community such as violence, substance abuse, climate change, or cybersecurity.

It is indispensable to train students so they can be more competitive and prepared for the demands of the 21st century workforce and economic development of Mexico and the United States.  To that end, the Department of State’s signature hemisphere-wide education initiative – 100,000 Strong in the Americas – creates interregional networks to strengthen institutional capacity and catalyze student development and mobility via new models of innovative education exchange and training opportunities. The 100K Strong Innovation Fund is the mechanism and trusted U.S. Government-branded collaboration between the Department of State, U.S. embassies, and regional private, public, and academic sectors to support 100K Strong competitions that benefit and engage underserved students in the U.S. and the rest of the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico.  In under ten years (2014-2023), Mexico is a leader in 100K Strong partnerships between a diversity of U.S. colleges/universities and Mexican higher education institutions (HEIs). To date, the 100K Strong Innovation Fund has provided 84 grants ($25,000 each) to 120 teams of HEIs in 28 U.S states and 23 Mexican states to increase student exchange and workforce development training programs STEM, public health, technology, financial inclusion, agriculture/food sciences, logistics, and business development.  The Mexican private sector has thus far contributed close to $1,900,000 USD in the last eight years to increase bilateral exchanges via the 100K Strong. In addition, the Embassy of the United States in Mexico City and Department of State are working with public and private sectors in Mexico and in Canada to launch the first ever 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K Strong) “North America” grant competition by November 2023 that would expand innovation, inclusion, and climate-focused student/faculty exchange programs between higher education institutions in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

The year 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-Mexico treaty on the recovery and return of stolen archaeological, historical, and cultural properties.  This was the first international treaty related to cultural property trafficking.  Predating the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, this treaty demonstrates both countries’ leadership on this topic.  Through the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), the United States has awarded $1.7 million in grants since 2002 for nine projects to preserve Mexico’s cultural heritage.

Mexico’s Membership in International Organizations

Mexico is a strong supporter of the United Nations and a member of several other regional organizations.  For instance, Mexico was elected to a 2021-2023 seat on the UN Economic and Social Council.  Mexico and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Energy Agency, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, World Trade Organization, International Maritime Organization, Organization of American States, and the Wassenaar Arrangement on conventional arms.

The United States, Mexico, and Canada collaborate through the North American Leaders’ Summit, revived in 2021, and in the 2022 Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, endorsed by 21 countries in the hemisphere.

Bilateral Representation

The Department’s Key Officers List includes principal U.S. embassy and consulate officials in Mexico.

Mexico maintains an embassy in the United States at 1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20006 (tel. 202-728-1600).

More information about Mexico is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

CIA World Factbook Mexico Page
U.S. Embassy
U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue
FACT SHEET: U.S.-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue | The White House
Summary of the Action Plan for U.S.-Mexico Bicentennial Framework for Security, Public Health, and Safe Communities
FACT SHEET: Second Meeting of the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Security Dialogue | The White House
USAID Mexico Page
History of U.S. Relations With Mexico
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative – Mexico
Office of the U.S. Trade Repetitive – United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. Section Page
Travel Information
Department of Energy: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Analysis
Department of Commerce: 2014 Mid-Year Review of High Level Economic Dialogue Progress
Trilateral Agreement with United States, Canada, and Mexico to Expand Trusted Traveler Programs


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