U.S.– Mexico Relationship: One of Great ImportanceDecember 11, 2015
Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
Having traveled to Mexico twice in the last two months and four times in the past year, one overarching theme has become clear: the U.S. and Mexico are firmly on a path to becoming a model of a modern commercial partnership. My recent trip to Mexico served to reinforce this message in three important ways
First, during a roundtable with the Council of the Americas, we discussed the upcoming annual meeting taking place within the framework of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED). Since its launch in 2013, the HLED has been the central bilateral forum for the U.S. and Mexico to advance our commercial partnership, our strategic interests, and our leadership on the regional and global stage. During the roundtable, I presented several examples of HLED successes. We have completed or nearly completed several border infrastructure projects that will enhance both our flows of commerce and our collective security interests. We have engaged in education cooperation and workforce development through our Bilateral Forum for Higher Education, Innovation, and Research. Through this forum, we secured 23 bilateral agreements that will facilitate information sharing and foster understanding through student exchanges between U.S. and Mexican education institutions. In 2014 alone, 27,000 Mexican students and teachers participated in exchanges under the program. Finally, in the area of energy, we are working with our Mexican counterparts to advance the country’s historic opening of its oil and gas sector to private investment. Part of this effort includes the creation of a U.S.-Mexico Energy Business Council, which will be a platform for business leaders to provide perspective and insight to government officials.
Second, during this year’s U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue, I participated on a panel on cross-border digital integration. Today, our two countries are deepening, enhancing, and maximizing our shared resources through technologies like the Internet of Things and Smart Cities capabilities. The impact of these gains extends far beyond the digital space and includes enhancing two-way trade, environmental sustainability, and cross-border security. At the same time, we are seeing U.S. and Mexican cities, as well as cross-border innovation clusters, emerge as hubs of innovation that will produce wide-ranging impacts at the national and international levels.
Finally, as with every trip, I am reminded of how the U.S.-Mexico commercial relationship will be significantly advanced once the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is ratified. In particular, TPP will have an enormous multiplier effect on existing efforts to integrate our two markets. On the front-end, because of the increased goods, services, investment, and data flows that will result from TPP, stakeholders in both countries will be incentivized to engage in greater and deeper collaboration on manufacturing, innovation, human capital development, border infrastructure and beyond. On the backend, TPP will create an unprecedented platform where we will maximize the gains of that deeper integration through increased access to 40% of global GDP, to 300 million new consumers, and to the fastest growing region in the world in the Asia-Pacific.
Enhancing and advancing the U.S. – Mexico relationship, as well as other global partnerships, is the critical role of the International Trade Administration. ITA is central to our commercial diplomacy efforts and in supporting U.S. businesses through international trade promotion, attracting foreign direct investment, and helping to ensure a level playing field for American businesses and workers through the work of our trade specialists in Washington, DC, our export assistance centers in 100 U.S cities., and our Foreign Commercial Service in more than 75 global markets.