HARLINGEN, Texas – The United States Ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau, says the relationship between Mexico and the United States is very complicated, critically important and still has “sore spots” for both countries.  

Landau was keynote speaker, Friday, May 8, during a Webcast entitled, “U.S.-Mexico Cooperation During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond,” hosted by the Mexico Institute at the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum for tackling global issues, the Wilson Center. 

(Editor’s Note: A podcast featuring the entire show is available below.)

According to Ambassador Landau, he is proud of the way some areas of cross-border cooperation have gone smoothly during the coronavirus pandemic. Landau said: “The way we handled the border itself, in the early days of the crisis back in March, I consider to be a real success story.” 

However, one area that is a point of contention has to do with the definition of the term, “essential Industry,” for both Mexico and the United States.  

Landau said: “I’d say the biggest frustration to me and the thing that this pandemic has laid bare is that we have to do more on the economic front to talk about cooperation on things like essential industries in times of crisis. That has been just a sore area in the beginning.”  

Landau is calling for procedures to allow for more institutionalized ongoing discussions of that issue.

Landau also said that he has learned some lessons.

“There are certainly some very legitimate, but compelling, health interests at stake on both sides of the border. The key is to come up with a way protect worker health, without completely stopping economic activity. I think it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Ambassador Landau is the son of the late, George W. Landau, who served as U.S. Ambassador to three countries, Paraguay, Chile and Venezuela. According thedirector of the Wilson Center, Jane Harman, even from childhood, Latin America has played a major role in the life of Christopher Landau.  

The Mexico Institute, under the auspices of the Wilson Center, seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship with Mexico.

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