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Shannon O'Neil

Lopez Obrador Can Save Mexico by Embracing Globalization

Strengthening global ties is the best way to escape a pandemic-induced recession and help the country’s poor.

Time for a big course correction.

Time for a big course correction.

Photographer: Alejandro Cegarra/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Globalization made today’s Mexico, transforming its economy, society and politics, much to the dislike of current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Now, if he wants to save his presidency and the nation from the coronavirus pandemic and a punishing recession, the man who used his inauguration address to denounce neoliberalism as “corruption” must embrace Mexico’s international ties.

Over the last 30 years, Mexico became one of the world’s most open economies. Trade tops 80% of gross domestic product: Millions of Mexican jobs depend on a booming export sector of car parts, plane engines, medical devices, TV screens, agricultural products, and much more. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, these internationally tested sectors are the most productive, providing a base for higher-paying jobs and longer term economic growth.