Washington, D.C. Sep 27th, 2016
I am pleased and honored to be with you here today. The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the largest business advocacy organization on the West coast, is a wonderful expression of the vitality and dynamism of the binational community in the region and along our common border as a whole.
I appreciate the opportunity to share my views on what has become a very successful strategic alliance for Mexico and the United States, and more significantly, on the vast potential that lies ahead.
Let me present three main ideas on the Mexico – U.S. relationship.
First, the significance of the Mexican-American community and its contribution to the U.S. economy.
Today, Mexico and the U.S. are closer than ever before. Our nations are more interdependent and more interconnected through strong economic, political, and social ties, as well as shared values.
The integration we have achieved over the last two decades is so strong because it is the result of the shared aspirations of our people.
As you know, the population of Mexican origin in the United States is about 35 million. They constitute 11% of the total U.S. population and 63% of the Hispanic population.
Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, as members of the Hispanic community in the U.S., have always made great contributions to the economy and social fabric of the communities they live in.
Our community generates 8% of the U.S.’s GDP.
Mexican immigrants are entrepreneurs and create jobs in the U.S. They own more than half a million companies (1 out of every 25 in the country).
Hispanic immigrants earn approximately $240 billion yearly and pay $90 billion a year in taxes.
So let me say it loud and clear: the contributions of honest, hard-working Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans to this country need to be acknowledged today more than ever before.
Second, the U.S. – Mexico strategic alliance and the North American perspective.
Our countries benefit, significantly, from the stable economic relationship that has been developed for more than two decades.
During this time, we have seen unprecedented growth in bilateral commerce. I know most of you are pretty familiar with the numbers, but just to put things into perspective, I would like to emphasize:
Mexico and the U.S. trade more than half a trillion dollars every year, the second largest gross trade flow in the world. ($531 billion in 2015).
Mexico has emerged as the second destination in the world for U.S. exports: Mexico buys more products and services from the U.S. than France, Germany, Netherlands and the UK combined.
More importantly, we not only trade intensively with each other, we jointly produce goods for the rest of the world through deeply integrated production and supply chains.
That is particularly true in the automotive, electronics, appliance and machinery sectors, as thousands of manufacturers in both countries work together creating goods for North America and for the rest of the world.
The Mexico-U.S. manufacturing platform is something no other countries in Europe or Asia have achieved: exports in manufactured goods to the U.S. from Mexico contain on average 40% U.S. content.
This is an important clarification today. When Mexico and the U.S. trade, regardless of the direction, jobs are created in both countries. Today, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, about 6 million U.S. jobs depend on the commercial relationship with Mexico.
The border is a prime example of the commitment between our two countries to build a prosperous region. Our shared interests are reflected in our efforts to promote the economic development and competitiveness of our communities through the secure, lawful and efficient movement of goods and people, as well as the efficient management of our common resources.
The border between the United States and Mexico stretches almost 2,000 miles.
If we grouped all 10 border states together (from California to Texas, and from Baja California to Tamaulipas), the border region would represent the world’s 4th largest economy.
Border crossings between Mexico and the United States are some of the busiest in the world, with 58 ports of entry and around 370,000 vehicle crossings taking place daily. Around 70% of our trade crosses the border by land, along with 1 million people who cross it legally on a daily basis.
But you already know all this. You live at the border; you are the border.
The dynamic relationship Mexico has with California is strong. In 2015 alone, our trade surpassed $71.9 billion dollars.
Mexico is California’s largest export market. Mexican companies operate 735 business establishments in California and provide more than 13 thousand local jobs.
14.6% of California’s exports worldwide go to Mexico. Moreover, nearly 700,000 jobs in California depend on trade with my country.
The Cali-Baja mega region is a very good example of how our countries, our economies and our societies are intertwined. The region is home to 6.5 million people, the largest concentrated population along our common border.
It hosts 90 colleges and universities and over 80 research institutes. It is part of the NAFTA corridor, for the purpose of expeditious movement of goods across the border.
The state of Baja California has the largest concentration of aerospace companies in Mexico. It it’s the 3rd biggest recipient of foreign investment in the country and it hosts the busiest border crossing in the world, El Chaparral-San Ysidro.
The vision behind this process is very significant for our future as a region.
As North America approaches a population of 500 million and our strategic partnership continues to develop formidable global supply chains, a combination of geography, demographics and energy resources contribute to the ambitious goal of becoming the most competitive region in the world.
Friends, North American leadership is about our communities working and producing together with a common understanding of the potential of our region. The only way forward is inclusiveness, not nativism; bridges, not walls.
And thirdly, let me share what we have been doing in Mexico and how we have been working with the U.S. in the last few years.
The implementation of an ambitious set of structural reforms by President Peña Nieto is expected to boost productivity in Mexico and set the baseline for high and sustained growth rates of our economy. These reforms aim to foster a more competitive economy, increase productivity, create new jobs, expand social rights, strengthen political institutions, and attract more investments to achieve sustainable economic growth over the next few years.
This transformation has been possible thanks to Mexico’s macroeconomic stability, solid democratic institutions, and a young and increasingly prepared population.
Bilaterally, we have been doing our job. The High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) launched in 2013, has delivered results. It is fostering further engagement at the highest level between the Mexican and U.S. governments and also with the private sector through the CEO Dialogue, reducing transaction costs to increase the competitiveness of our shared economic space.
Through the HLED, we are launching initiatives in transportation, telecommunications, strategic logistics corridors, customs and border master plans, which will increase the competitiveness of the region.
At the regional level, in the San Diego – Tijuana area, these efforts have resulted in infrastructure and logistics projects that have turned the region in one of the most attractive and competitive regions throughout the Mexico – US border.
In recent months we have launched projects such as the Tijuana airport pedestrian connection, the new southbound East Gate pedestrian crossing, the temporary PedWest crossing and the customs cargo pre-inspection program at Mesa de Otay. All this has happened while Mexico customs completes the expansion of its cargo and passenger vehicles facilities at Mesa de Otay and the U.S. government continues the expansion and modernization of its facilities at San Ysidro.
Also, we expect the connection of Interstate 5 to El Chaparral to be successfully completed by the U.S. Looking ahead, our eyes are on Otay Mesa East, which we would like to build as the model port for the future of the U.S. – Mexico border.
We will operate the port of entry by using cutting edge technologies where we can implement joint customs cargo inspections and seamless processes for passenger vehicles. Our work in Otay Mesa East is pushing us to do things differently at the border.
Otay Mesa East will also be the first port of entry that we will design, build and operate jointly. As stated in the HLED and other fora, both governments are fully committed to this project and that is why we fully support all the efforts that SANDAG, CALTRANS and this Chamber have done.
So, in closing, Mexico and the U.S. share a tradition of collaboration, partnership and understanding. Our administrations share a strategic alliance, solid and mature enough to endure any political juncture.
The work that has been done and the realization of the vast potential of our economic relationship requires active and sustained involvement of all of those who play a key role in it.
We cannot afford to waste any time and we need the active involvement of the San Diego Chamber in reaching out and educating a broader audience on the value of our relationship and our vision for its future.
Thank you and good luck with your mission and throughout your stay in Washington.