Nowhere is that more apparent than Mexico, whose president-elect, Enrique Pena Nieto, is scheduled to visit Washington this month and has signaled an openness to deeper cooperation, including in the energy sector.

“I think the Obama administration is focused on the Asia pivot,” said Andrew Selee, who heads the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. “But if things in Mexico get exciting, we may see a pivot toward the Western Hemisphere, which has much more tangible consequences.

“One of our greatest paths to making the U.S. economy more dynamic is to tie it much more closely to the Mexican and Canadian economies in terms of innovation and manufacturing,” Mr. Selee said. “This will make the U.S. much more competitive globally.”

Mr. Obama’s trip to Asia, which will include stops in Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia, underscores the administration’s self-described “pivot” toward that region as the U.S. grapples with the rise of China. There is speculation that the trip might include a surprise meeting between Mr. Obama and China’s incoming president, Xi Jinping.