New York, December 16th, 2016



Thank you to the Council of the Americas for giving me the opportunity to talk with you about Mexico and the Mexico-US bilateral relationship at this very interesting moment in time. Thank you, Susan and Eric. Thank you all for being here today


About 25 years ago, in this very room, Mexican officials were defending the image of Mexico as a reliable partner that deserved to be part of a new trade model.


Fast forward to 2016, Mexico and the U.S. are closer than ever before. We are more interdependent and more interconnected through strong economic, political, and social ties, as well as shared values.


This transformation has been possible, in no small part, because of the trade relationship we have built with the United States. Today, our countries benefit significantly from the stable economic relationship that has come with it.


Without question, NAFTA has contributed to the strengthening and predictability of our bilateral institutional framework.


It formalized the already vigorous relation taking place between our business communities, who were trading 80 billion dollars a year prior to the agreement’s entry into force; and


It allowed our business communities to consolidate strong supply chains and create a competitive platform for growth with access to the world's main markets.


As importantly, investment dispositions have created a climate of legal certainty favorable for business.


And 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 alone), and Mexico has become the second destination in the world for U.S. exports: we buy more products and services from the U.S. than France, Germany, Netherlands and the UK combined.


And additional changes have come also on the domestic front.  President Peña Nieto set out to implement an ambitious group of structural reforms that are expected to boost productivity 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 tectonic change has been possible thanks to Mexico’s macroeconomic stability, solid democratic institutions, and a young and increasingly well-prepared population.


Out of that set of reforms, I am happy to report that last week, for the first time in Mexico’s history, international and domestic oil companies bid for blocks in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, in what was a transparent, public and ultimately very successful process.


As some of you know, eight out of ten blocks received bids, and also PEMEX had their first Farm-out.


As a result, 11 international companies from Asia, Europe and the Americas will operate in Mexico for the first time.


The opening and integral modernization of the country's energy sector follows the best international practices in terms of transparency and accountability, and obtaining the best conditions for Mexico.


The results of that process have confirmed our country as an attractive destination for productive investment in the long term, beyond the complex environment through which the international hydrocarbons market is going.


And as diverse the national origin of the winning bidders is, we would like the US to continue to be a key partner with us in the years ahead. We hope that those and future opportunities are not missed out of fulfilling promises made on a political campaign, or shortsightedness.


Friends, we have to seriously recognize that in the juncture at which we are standing today:


We either capitalize it and turn it into opportunity for the sake of a new stage of our integration and shared growth; or


Risk a major setback of one of the most advanced integration projects in the world, that has made North America a keystone of globalization.


And you know better than me that what is at stake here is not minor.


In the case of Mexico, it raises all kinds of challenges, especially regarding trade diversification.


But in the case of U.S., this also has to do with the type of country you want to shape and the global leadership you want to pursue or relinquish in the years and decades to come.


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.


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. We expect and will work for that to continue to be the case.


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, like all of you here today.


It is true that the political landscape from 25 years ago might have changed, but we should continue to push our countries towards what is right for our shared future, instead of what is politically popular within the electorates on both sides of our common border.


The role of the Mexican government in lobbying NAFTA more than two decades ago, was structurally different from the role we have to play today.


We believe that the credibility of our trading relationship relies heavily in the shoulders of the U.S. and Mexico private sectors, since you are the ones who have the better stories about the benefits of NAFTA.


You are one of the most powerful means to back up the successful story we have written since 1994 and you have the power to turn it around in these difficult times.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


Let me close by saying that despite the rhetoric in the atmosphere these days, I remain optimistic. Mexico is ready to play its part alongside the US, and we hope for America to become our main partner in success.


Despite the evident differences of the day, we will work to find common ground with the next US Administration, and I will ask for all of you to continue to actively encourage the responsible and intelligent engagement, to make sure that as America prospers, Mexico continues to prosper too. 


Thank you, and I will be happy to take some of your questions.