Thank you Jodi (Bond),
- Good afternoon, I would like to thank the US Chamber of Commerce and the Consejo Coordinador Empresarial for bringing us together today, and especially John Rice and Armando Garza, co-chairs of the US-Mexico CEO Dialogue, for spearheading this important initiative.
Public & Private Sectors must work together
- As Ambassador of Mexico to the United States and someone who originally comes from the business world, I am keenly aware of the importance and value of collaboration between the public and private sectors to foster economic growth and prosperity in North America.
- This collaboration was key twenty years ago during NAFTA’s ratification process, but frankly it has been somewhat neglected in recent years. I celebrate the fact that, through the leadership of the US Chamber of Commerce and the Consejo Coordinador Empresarial, this collaboration has been taken up again.
- The dramatic increase of trade and investment in North America over the past two decades was partly the result of the clear and stable rules established by NAFTA, but more importantly by the decisions taken by business leaders, including many of you here today.
- If we are to take North American economic integration and competitiveness to the next level, we need to have much stronger and proactive engagement between the public and private sector, and to truly think and act regionally.
Changing World Economy
- The world economy has changed radically in the last two decades: services loom much larger now, as does e-commerce. And advanced manufacturing (including 3-D printing) means that a highly skilled workforce, streamlined regulations and vastly improved infrastructure and logistics, both at border crossings and throughout North America, will be critically important to take full advantage of our economic complementarity.
- The energy landscape has also changed dramatically. During the NAFTA negotiations, Mexico did not open its hydrocarbons sector to foreign investment, but with last December’s constitutional reform and the congressional vote on secondary energy legislation that will take place later this month, Mexico’s energy horizons are set to change radically.
- Meanwhile, according to the International Energy Agency, the US is slated to overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil producer in 2015.
- In addition, in its Energy Outlook to 2040 ExxonMobil estimated that by 2020 North America would become a net natural gas exporter and a net exporter of oil around 2030. And while we have been blessed by nature with plentiful resources, it is ultimately market forces and not merely government decisions that will help us turn our energy potential into a North American manufacturing renaissance.
- More than twenty years since the onset of NAFTA, significant transaction costs to cross-border trade and investment still remain. We need to streamline customs procedures and invest in infrastructure to reduce border wait times, which cost us billions of dollars per year. We must also work with the private sector to develop world-class logistics that reduce the costly friction of cross-border trade and boost the competitiveness of the region, and we must prioritize correctly.
Progress on border issues
- Through the High-level Economic Dialogue (HLED), we are launching initiatives in areas such as transportation, telecommunications, strategic logistics corridors, and customs and border master plans, which will increase the competitiveness of the region. We are also fostering economic growth and entrepreneurship through joint investment promotion, advanced manufacturing, and deepening regulatory cooperation.
- These initiatives are an acknowledgment that our economies are not in a zero-sum game with each other, but rather are competing together as one unit in the global marketplace, and underscore the growing importance of infrastructure and logistics in ensuring that supply chains can operate seamlessly and allow us to successfully compete in a dynamic world economy. They also recognize the important role that businesses must play in building the economic future of our region.
- In short, North America will become the most competitive region in the world if our governments are able to reduce transaction costs to regional trade and investment through mechanisms such as the High Level Economic Dialogue, providing business leaders with the confidence they need to invest in North America.
- I look forward to continue working closely with the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue to turn our shared economic space into the most competitive region in the world.