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Media 070714 Wayne

Monday, July 7, 2014

 

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico: July 4 Official Reception Remarks

 

Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne

 

(Transcript)

 

My wife Pam and I are very pleased to welcome you to our home tonight to join us in celebrating our nation’s Declaration of Independence 238 years ago.

 

On this occasion we pay tribute to the sacrifices and enduring vision of our founding fathers.  They took bold decisions that set the tone for our nation’s development and enshrined the values that we work hard to achieve in today’s world.  We are very grateful for their efforts, and the continuing efforts of all the succeeding generations, including those serving today, to preserve and improve our democracy.

 

Mexico is a very important friend and partner of the United States.  Those of us in U.S. Mission Mexico are representing U.S. interests, while seeking to improve our country’s relationship with our Mexican neighbors and partners.  Our partnership with Mexico is not just between governments; they embrace businesses, educational institutions, civil society organizations and millions of talented and dedicated individuals.

 

The U.S.-Mexico relationship touches on so many aspects of millions of citizens from both countries: from business and trade to the security of our citizens; from the education of our youth, to the personal connections we make daily; from preserving our environment to investing in our future.

 

One indicator of our cooperation is the number of visits our leaders have made to each other.  Since last 4th of July, President Obama travelled here to meet with President Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Harper to pursue more North American competitiveness in the world.  Vice President Biden came in September to launch the High Level Economic Dialogue.  Secretary Kerry was here in May to launch our Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Research and Innovation.  And we have had scores of other cabinet, congressional, state and city leaders coming to discuss the full range of issues with their counterparts, business leaders and educators, non-governmental organizations, young people, and with regular citizens. Mexican leaders are similarly visiting their counterparts in the U.S.

 

The U.S.-Mexico relationship touches the daily lives of more of our citizens in both countries than any other relationship either of our countries has with any other country.  We have successes and we face serious challenges.  The measure of a mature relationship is not the absence of bumps, but rather how we manage those inevitable issues.  This Mexico-U.S. relationship has moved to that mature partnership stage that allows us to continue the important cooperation and progress, while separately managing the sticky issues that inevitably arise with our shared border, our shared economies, and our shared communities.

 

There is much about which we can be very proud.

 

Twenty years ago we created NAFTA, which enabled our private sectors to grow our economies through trade.  The amount of bilateral trade has boomed to $552.3 billion in goods and services trade in 2013.  That is 10.4% growth since 2011.  Over 18,000 American companies have operations here, and more and more Mexican companies are doing the same in the U.S.  Many of you here tonight – Mexicans and Americans – are responsible for that growth and the improvement in the quality of life that it has brought to our citizens on both sides of the border. 

 

We are working hard through our High Level Economic Dialogue to facilitate more efficient commerce between our nations and to make North America more competitive in the world and that will benefit broad swaths of our populations - consumers, workers, and manufacturers.

 

Our presidents realized last year that if we are going to be more competitive in the world, we need to expand the number of young people who can speak each other’s language, who understand each other’s culture, and who can and will innovate together.  Through the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research, we now have over 50 universities on both sides of the border working side-by-side to improve educational opportunities from community college through university to post-grad, research, and innovation.  Thanks to generous contributions from partners in the private sector and both governments, we are growing our Fulbright program, expanding other educational opportunities, and we have established a dynamic Mexico-U.S. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council.  Earlier today, we were joined by Mexican government and university officials in our Consular section as 250 Mexican students received student visas for summer programs in the U.S.

 

The very special foundation on which we build is the more than 30 million Americans of Mexican heritage and the almost two million U.S. citizens living in Mexico!  Our growing tourism reinforces that with over 20 million U.S. tourists visiting Mexico last year and over 14 million Mexican tourists who visited the U.S., plus hundreds of thousands of people who cross our border daily without incident.

 

All of these human and commercial ties give us a shared interest in the security situation in our countries.  Our governments have invested a great deal in trying to provide safe environments on both sides of the border.  Through the Merida Initiative, the U.S. government has delivered over $1.2 billion in assistance to projects which seek to prevent violence, promote justice and dismantle dangerous criminal organizations.  This is a small fraction of what the Mexican government has committed towards the same goals.  We want to make our partnership even more effective and efficient in facing organized crime, whether it be trafficking of drugs, people, arms or money. 

 

And on an issue that is very much in the news right now, our governments are working together to address the challenges of the increase in the migration of unaccompanied children in both our countries.  These are dangerous journeys for anyone, but especially for children, and there are no free permits to stay at the end of their ordeals.

 

Thank you all very much for being part of our celebration tonight, and for being part of the strengthening of the U.S.-Mexico relationship on so many fronts.  We look forward to much more success ahead.

 

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Press release, Jul. 3, 2014, Embassy of the United States, Mexico City

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