This article analyses the international relations of Mexican sub-state governments. It aims to answer four questions: 1) What explains the recent and dramatic increase in their international activities?; 2) Do these federal units have an independent foreign policy?; 3) What are their levels or degrees of sub-state diplomacy?; and 4) Which variables explain the variation in their degree of sub-state diplomacy? The first section argues that the growth in international activities is generated by the combination of two sets of variables: a) the growing interdependence and globalization of the international system; and b) the democratization, decentralization and structural reform processes in the domestic arena. The second section sustains that Mexican sub-national units do not have a foreign policy of their own. The third section shows that there is a wide variation in the states’ degree of international participation. In order to characterize this variation, a typology is constructed and the 32 Mexican federal units are classified in two moments in time (2004 and 2009) and a comparative analysis between these two periods is presented. The fourth section argues that the degree of sub-state diplomacy depends on three variables: economic (gross state product); political (juxtaposed government); and geographic (border location). Each of these variables is tested to determine its impact, providing evidence to sustain the relevance of the economic variable, arguing that juxtaposed government functions as a trigger variable for initiating or increasing external activities, and that the border is a necessary, but not sufficient, variable to explain the degree of international projection.
This article analyzes the international negotiations of sub-State governments (inssg) in Mexico. It addresses five questions: 1) What factors explain the increasing number of inssgs? 2) What is the impact of federalism on inssg? 3) What are the levels of inssg and how have they changed over the years? 4) How do Mexican sub-State governments (ssg) institutionalize their international negotiations? 5) What are the perceptions and capacities of the ssg in their internationalization process? The study explains the growth of inssg due to democratization, arguing that renewed Mexican federalism has generated incentives for ssgs to participate more intensively in international negotiations. It analyzes the wide variation in the inssg and explains how it has evolved over the last decade. It focuses on the analysis of Inter-Institutional Agreements (iia) and explains the perceptions and capacities of Mexican ssg to conduct international negotiations.