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Monday, January 12, 2015

Why Relations between the USA and Mexico are Important


By Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico


The United States and Mexico have enjoyed a unique relationship that has flourished in recent decades. I am pleased to start 2015 by visiting Washington, DC to find new ways for Mexico and the United States to strengthen our ties to make North America the world’s most prosperous, competitive region.


Our countries have an intense economic relationship that encompasses a wide range of areas. Since the start of my administration, I have worked with President Barack Obama to create bilateral mechanisms to exploit the full potential of our relationship. We are already seeing concrete results of the High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED), the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Research and Innovation (FOBESII), the Mexico-US Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council (MUSEIC), and the 2014 Plan of Action for the Administration of the 21st Century Border.


We firmly believe that the continued promotion of bilateral trade is a win-win situation for both countries. Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner, only behind China and Canada. Total bilateral trade between our countries exceeded US$500 billion in 2013. Our exports to the US have significantly increased since NAFTA came into force, with approximately 80% of them entering that country. At the same time, in 2013 US exports to Mexico totaled US$226 billion, increasing by 443% since 1993. In fact, Mexico buys more US goods than all the BRIC countries together and almost as much as the entire European Union. In addition, 5.9 million US jobs depend on trade with Mexico. Mexican exports even benefit the US economy: 40% of Mexican exports to the United States contain US inputs. By 2020, Mexico will have the ability to build one in four vehicles in North America, compared to one in six in 2012. Moreover, Mexico has begun to invest in high-tech exports; we have become the world’s largest exporter of flat screen TVs, the fourth largest computer exporter, and a pioneer in growth in the aerospace industry. We are linked.


To ensure the prosperity of our border, we have worked together to improve security and facilitate trade. Every minute, nearly a million dollars in goods cross our land border. In addition, our countries have launched several infrastructure projects to make the border region a catalyst for growth and innovation. These projects include the pedestrian bridge between the airports of San Diego and Tijuana, the Matamoros-Brownsville railway crossing, and six new checkpoints in the Nogales port of entry. We have also reduced the average waiting time at the San Ysidro-Chaparral crossing on the border between California and Baja California from 3.5 hours to half an hour.


Our commitment to education has allowed us to leverage the synergies created by FOBESII, and between our Project 100,000 and The Force of 100,000 in the Americas initiatives. Last year we launched the Mobilitas website, a platform to help students find educational opportunities in both countries. Moreover, 23 cooperation agreements were signed between Mexican and US states and universities. In total, we were able to achieve our goal for 2014: 27,000 Mexican students attending nearly 200 universities in the United States.


The United States and Mexico have recognized that the challenges and opportunities we face in migration must be addressed from a broader regional perspective and based on the principle of shared responsibility. We are therefore committed to working with our neighbors in Central America to promote development and prosperity in the region.


Over 34 million people of Mexican origin live in the US, 22.9 million of whom were born here. Mexican-Americans are socially and economically active members of their communities and maintain a strong binational identity. These communities are pillars of the relationship between our countries and will help us build a more prosperous, shared future.


My government applauds the Executive Action on Migration, recently announced by President Obama, which recognizes the positive social and economic impact of Mexican migrants on their communities in the United States. Furthermore, these measures will enable migrants to increase their contributions to American society and live without fear of being separated from their families. My administration will continue working with the US government to provide consular services and assistance to improve the welfare of the Mexican community in the United States.


In order to improve the quality of life in Mexico -which will discourage undocumented migration- my government has embarked on the path of transformation. We have sought to improve the competitiveness of my country, strengthen Mexicans’ rights, and consolidate our democracy.


Since I took office, my government has assumed the responsibility of making structural change a reality. We have worked with Mexican political leaders from the left, right and center to put Mexico on the path to modernization, innovation and economic growth.


The Mexican Congress approved eleven structural reforms in several key sectors such as education, banking, telecommunications, justice, the electoral system, employment, energy, antitrust and public finance. These reforms will prepare our citizens and businesses to meet the global challenges of the 21st century and boost the competitiveness of our region. The implementation of these unprecedented changes is already taking place and will further strengthen our relations with the United States.


In keeping with these efforts, my government recognizes the need to improve the security situation in Mexico. The tragic and despicable events that occurred last September in Guerrero have been dealt with by my government with decisive measures: over 70 individuals, including the masterminds, are being tried and I will continue to insist that there is no room for impunity. In November, I took steps to strengthen the rule of law and promote fundamental reforms in security, law enforcement and criminal justice. We are focusing our efforts on increasing institutional strength at the local level to prevent such incidents from recurring.


The United States and Mexico have worked together to deepen our ties and diversify an agenda that reflects our strengths and shared values. Together we must build a more integrated, competitive and prosperous North America.



Presidency Blog, Presidency of the Republic, Mexico, DF, Jan. 7, 2015; translation by Presidency of the Republic

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