January 12, 2015
Joint Statement: United States-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue
When President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the creation of the
United States-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) in May 2013, they established a new strategic vision for our economic
cooperation, focused on delivering tangible and positive economic benefits to the people of the United States and Mexico.
Our robust cooperation and dedication to finding binational solutions to shared economic challenges strengthens both
of our countries and creates opportunities for our citizens. As neighbors and partners, we will continue
to position North America as the most competitive and dynamic region in the world.
The first HLED
meeting took place in Mexico City on September 20th, 2013. Today, Vice President Joe Biden hosted the second
Cabinet-level meeting in Washington, DC to continue advancing our shared interests, strengthen our close and productive bilateral
economic and commercial ties, enhance competitiveness, create additional trade and economic opportunities, and promote increased
regional and global cooperation.
The benefits of our economic integration are clear, with more than $500 billion
in bilateral trade per year, and over $100 billion in cross-border investment. U.S. and Mexican companies understand the value
of our integrated economy, and have designed their productive processes accordingly, making full use of our competitive advantages
and geographical proximity. Today, we build things together and many finished products exported by our countries reflect this
high level of co-production. Our joint efforts through the HLED build on this important foundation by promoting
regional integration and competitiveness, improving connectivity, and fostering economic growth, productivity, entrepreneurship,
Mexico and the United States also are close partners in the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) agreement, an historic undertaking intended to boost economic growth, development, and prosperity, and support additional
jobs in both countries. We have made significant progress over the past year in setting the stage to finalize
a high-standard and comprehensive agreement. With the end coming into focus, the United States, Mexico
and the other 10 TPP countries are strongly committed to moving the negotiations forward to conclusion as soon as possible.
The substantial new opportunities for U.S. and Mexican exporters that the TPP will offer will be enhanced by our work
together in the HLED.
Promoting Competitiveness and Connectivity
In 2014, the United States
and Mexico made significant strides regarding mechanisms for transportation and communications infrastructure planning and
development. These mechanisms have directly facilitated the freight flow over the border, reduced bottlenecks, and improved
logistics for cross-border trade. Faster, more efficient and closer links are helping boost our competitiveness.
Our two governments concluded, in November 2014, the negotiation of a new air services agreement that will benefit travelers,
shippers, airlines, and the economies of Mexico and the United States with competitive pricing and more convenient air services.
The new agreement will enter into force once the approval processes of the two countries are finalized.
To reduce bottlenecks
to trade at the border, we have worked to expand capacity at our ports of entry. At the El Chaparral-San
Ysidro Port of Entry between San Diego and Tijuana, the busiest land crossing in the world, new construction has reduced wait
times from three hours to approximately 30 minutes. In Nogales, Arizona, we doubled inspection capacity at the primary entry
point of Mexican produce into the United States, making it faster and more efficient. The Mexican side
of the Tijuana Airport Pedestrian Facility is about to be completed and the U.S. side is scheduled to be finished by the end
We continue to work expeditiously on other priority ports of entry to facilitate the movement of both
people and goods. We commend the work of the 21st Century Border Management Initiative, including its efforts
to track and push forward new and improved border infrastructure at 13 border crossings. We are expediting the movement of
goods and expanding supply chain security through a new mutual recognition arrangement between our trusted trader programs
and the harmonization of data requirements for northbound rail shipments. We are also beginning to look
at options to facilitate the crossing of oversized equipment necessary for exploration and production of energy.
tourism between the United States and Mexico is an important source of jobs, income, and cultural exchange between the two
countries. The HLED established the Travel and Tourism Working Group to promote increased travel and tourism
and better travel experiences through increased knowledge of tourism flows. During 2014, the Group worked
to improve the exchange of data, including statistics, tourism flows, market intelligence, stakeholders, and the economic
benefits of these efforts. Our two countries have increased cooperation to manage more efficiently our telecommunications
systems along the border, supporting both nations’ goals of accelerating mobile broadband services. The
United States also has provided legal and regulatory expertise to Mexico’s new telecommunications regulator to support
Mexico’s goals of creating a competitive, market-based regulatory landscape more conducive for telecommunications investment.
Building a Modern, Innovative Knowledge Economy
The future competitiveness
of our region depends on our ability to foster innovation, provide our citizens access to high quality education, and to promote
a workforce with the skills necessary to succeed in the global economy. Together, we initiated the mapping of vibrant cross-border
economic clusters, aiding our nations’ ability to produce high-value products and services dependent on the innovation
and linkages that these clusters generate. Under the Mexico-U.S. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council
(MUSEIC) launched in 2013, we formally signed agreements for U.S.-Mexican collaboration as a part of the Small Business Network
of the Americas; held conferences and events designed to improve access to finance for businesses; and launched entrepreneurship
training sessions. We continue to seek ways to link U.S. and Mexican small businesses interested in international
trade, developing strategic partnerships and sharing best practices.
Both our governments also recognize women’s
empowerment and participation in economic affairs are crucial. Mexico and the United States have finalized an Action Plan
for the U.S. Mexico Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Promotion of Gender Equality, the Empowerment of Women and Women’s
Human Rights. Additionally, Mexico joined the Equal Futures Partnership and in September 2014 presented its national Action
Plan to comply with the objectives of the Partnership. Also, under MUSEIC, we found ways to increasingly integrate women into
growing economic sectors by creating networks of female entrepreneurs, mentoring projects, training programs and the creating
a guarantee fund to ease women’s access to financing. Finally, the Mexican Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare is
working closely with the U.S. Department of Labor on a project aimed at implementing the new Mexican Federal Labor Law to
prevent gender and sexual orientation discrimination in employment in Mexico. We are also actively engaging in discussions
to eliminate regulatory divergences to reduce red tape and help businesses on both sides of the border.
The United States
and Mexico have made a joint commitment to workforce development including quality post-secondary science, technology, engineering,
and math education through the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research (FOBESII). The
Forum was officially launched by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and the Secretary of State of the United States,
in Mexico City on May 21st, 2014. More than 450 U.S. and Mexican partners from government, academia, civil
society and the private sector participated in developing the FOBESII’s Action Plan and four binational working groups
were created to implement it.
Our two governments have also pledged to increase international educational exchanges in line with
the United States’ 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative and Mexico’s Proyecta 100,000. In
the past year alone, the Government of Mexico, with the collaboration of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, facilitated the travel
of 27,000 Mexican students and teachers to the United States. Higher Education Institutions and Research Centers of both countries
have signed more than 23 new educational agreements. We also have created new bilateral innovation and
research consortia and boosted collaborations such as the High Altitude Cherenkov Observatory (HAWC), which will be inaugurated
in March 2015. In addition, last October, and under the joint leadership of both governments, we launched the binational webpage
Mobilitas to promote academic opportunities in both the United States and Mexico.
The National Science Foundation
(NSF) and the National Science and Technology Council of Mexico (CONACYT) have strengthened their bilateral collaboration
and scientific research partnerships, through FOBESII. We are also working together on both sides of the border to prevent
abuses within the temporary worker system to facilitate the safe exchange of human capital within North America, through projects
such as the pilot program between Mexico´s Secretary of Labor (STPS) and the Government of California.
Together – Our 2015 Strategic Goals: We look forward to advancing our work in 2015 in six key
areas – energy; modern borders; work force development; regulatory cooperation; partnering in regional and global leadership;
and stakeholder engagement.
• Energy- We will deepen energy sector cooperation
between our countries – in areas such as sharing best practices for regulation in areas of common
interests including cross-border energy development and transmission, ensuring high safety standards, and protecting the environment,
enhancing our ability to collaborate on publicly available energy information, and promoting investment in workforce, safety
and technological innovation – in order to ensure access to low cost and cleaner sources of energy for our citizens,
resilient energy infrastructure, and a strong North American energy market. We are convinced that a more
integrated and efficient regional energy sector that relies on enhanced energy cooperation will play a crucial role in boosting
North America’s competitiveness and leadership in the years to come.
• Modern Border-
We are determined to make our border, where each day $1.5 billion in two-way trade and more than 400,000 people legally cross
between the United States and Mexico, a source of shared economic opportunity. We will continue to coordinate closely as we
improve our border infrastructure by building new facilities and modernizing old crossings. We will also continue work to
harmonize our data requirements to facilitate our customs processes in all modes of transportation. We will initiate operations
of three new facilities: the West Rail Bypass in Matamoros, Tamaulipas-Brownsville, Texas; the Guadalupe-Tornillo Port of
Entry in Chihuahua-Texas and the Tijuana Airport Pedestrian Facility, as well as progress on the proposed Otay II border crossing
in the Tijuana-San Diego border region. We will work to implement the Mutual Recognition Arrangement between our respective
trusted trader programs and continue joint efforts to facilitate the secure flow of travelers between our countries.
• Workforce Development- The knowledge economy is the key to competitiveness
in the 21st Century. Therefore, it is fundamental to develop a workforce that is familiar with and responsive to economic
priorities. Collaboration on this issue will benefit both our businesses and our people. Global abilities such as language
acquisition, teamwork, and cross-cultural skills are essential elements for success in today’s economy. The United States
and Mexico will advance the ambitious goal of sending 100,000 Mexican students to the United States and receiving 50,000 U.S.
students in Mexico by 2018, and will support university research partnerships to build upon our shared intellectual capital.
Our two governments will contribute to our broader workforce development goals in key sectors such as energy, technology,
and advanced manufacturing, through FOBESII and MUSEIC. We will work together on strategic issues through the Academies of
Engineering and Science of both countries. Our governments look forward to working more closely with the private sector on
both sides of the border in promoting internships and collaborating with universities to meet the training and education needs
of the future.
• Regulatory Cooperation- To strengthen our region’s economic integration,
we will pursue regulatory cooperation activities in such areas as energy, food safety, and transportation to facilitate cross-border
trade and co-production, and reduce regulatory barriers to businesses on both sides of the border.
and Global Leadership- Our governments and citizens are working jointly in many strategic and institutional areas
that further strengthen our bilateral ties, as well as our relationship with other countries and regions in the globalized
economy. We are working together to enhance government transparency under the Open Government Partnership, chaired this year
by both the Mexican government and civil society. In 2015, we will continue to work together toward open government, open
budgets, transparency and anti-corruption measures, demonstrate our commitments to progress in implementing the Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative, and will serve on each other’s peer review teams in our respective G-20 Fossil Fuel
Subsidy Peer Reviews. We will partner to promote inclusive and sustainable growth and development in Central America and the
Caribbean, including in strategic areas such as energy and risk management. We will continue to work closely
together in pursuit of a 2015 climate change agreement that is effective, durable, and applicable to all Parties, including
by submitting ambitious post-2020 mitigation targets and by working together through technical cooperation and information
exchange on how best to implement our shared climate objectives, before and after 2020.
Engagement- Outreach and stakeholder engagement remain fundamental components of the HLED and one of its most innovative
aspects. We carefully consider the input and opinions of all of our stakeholders in formulating the goals of our Economic
Dialogue. The government officials most involved with the HLED have also held several meetings with members of the private
and academic sectors to get feedback on what they consider fundamental to making North America the most competitive and dynamic
region. Ensuring this close dialogue remains will not only bring effectiveness and legitimacy to our joint
work, but will also ensure it remains relevant, dynamic, pragmatic and appropriately focused. We are convinced that these
must remain part of our joint agenda, if we are to deliver a more competitive and stronger North America.
Office of the
Press Secretary, Jan. 6, 2015, The White House, Washington, DC