President Felipe Calderón and President Barack Obama today reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Mexico and underscored their commitment to improve the lives of all citizens in both our countries, building upon our deep ties, and working with mutual respect and mutual responsibility across a broad arc of issues.
The Presidents discussed the wide range of bilateral, hemispheric, and global issues that affect our two countries and reaffirmed the shared values that guide our approaches to economic competitiveness, environmental conservation, clean energy, climate change, nuclear non proliferation, and the safety, social and economic well-being, and security of our citizens.
Enhancing Mutual Economic Growth
Mexico and the United States enjoy a vital economic and trading partnership that the Presidents vowed to enhance, reinforcing efforts to create jobs, promote economic recovery and expansion, and shared inclusive prosperity across all levels of society in both countries.
A key component of our global competitiveness is creating a border for the Twenty-First Century. The Presidents recognize that our border offers singular opportunities for both countries. We must develop it and manage it in a holistic fashion and in ways that facilitate the secure, efficient, and rapid flows of goods and people and reduce the costs of doing business between our two countries. Both the United States and Mexico benefit from expediting legitimate travel through and between our two countries, especially by those who live in the border region.
The Presidents took note of the progress underway in building that Twenty-First Century Border, including the opening of three new border crossings this year, initiation of three additional binational bridge projects, and significant modernization projects at existing border facilities. To spur further advancements in creating a modern, secure, and efficient border, the Presidents directed their respective cabinets to form a bilateral Executive Steering Committee, with appropriate representatives from each government, to implement a Declaration on Twenty-First Century Border Management, that will be released later today, to help make the Twenty-First Century Border a reality. It will include a first-ever binational 24-month plan of action to improve cross-border trade and travel.
The Presidents agreed that safe, efficient, secure, and compatible transportation is a prerequisite for mutual economic growth. They committed to continuing their countries' cooperation in system planning, operational coordination, and technical cooperation in key modes of transportation.
The Presidents also committed to significantly enhance the economic competitiveness and the economic well-being of both the United States and Mexico through improved regulatory cooperation. Such cooperation can increase economic growth in each country; lower costs for consumers, businesses, producers, and governments; increase trade in goods and services across our borders; and improve our ability to protect the environment, health and safety of our citizens. To increase regulatory transparency; provide early warning of regulations with potential bilateral effects; strengthen the analytic basis of regulations; and help make regulations more compatible, the Presidents directed the creation of a High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council, which will be comprised of senior-level regulatory, trade, and foreign affairs officials from both countries.
Innovation and investment in technology and human capital are keys to sustained economic growth and competitiveness in both Mexico and the United States. The protection of intellectual property rights is essential to promote such innovation and investment. With this in mind, the Presidents charged their administrations to work together to formalize and expand the efforts of the existing bilateral Intellectual Property Rights Working Group. These efforts will include industry training (including of small and medium size enterprises); work between Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to streamline patent reviews; and collaboration, training and increased intelligence sharing among law enforcement agencies to enforce intellectual property rights more effectively. The Presidents also reaffirmed their commitment to the negotiation of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and charged their administrations to conclude these negotiations soon.
Reflecting on the progress made in the commercial relationship, the two Presidents noted that Mexico and Mexican companies are among the largest customers in the world for the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM). Mexico is poised to be first country in the world where EXIM exceeds $10 billion in financing to support U.S. exports, in turn supporting investments and the transfer of new technology to Mexico.
The Presidents also discussed ongoing differences that inevitably arise from a mature and comprehensive trading relationship, and committed to renew efforts to resolve these pending issues in a cooperative fashion.
Meeting Energy Needs and Protecting the Environment
The Presidents recognize the close link between economic growth, competitiveness, and sustainable development and their bilateral clean energy and environment agenda. They reaffirmed that the United States and Mexico share a common goal of achieving strong economic growth while addressing the climate change challenge and increasing the reliability of our energy infrastructure. The Leaders reviewed the efforts both countries are undertaking to limit greenhouse gas emissions, promote green energy, and improve energy reliability in the context of the Bilateral Framework for Clean Energy and Climate Change announced during President Obama's April 2009 visit to Mexico City.
To build on that progress, the Presidents resolved to create a Cross-Border Electricity Task Force to promote regional renewable energy markets between our two countries. The Task Force will review opportunities and obstacles to cross border trade in renewable energy, advancing options on standards, electricity transmission, grid connections, and other policy measures that create market incentives for investment and trade in renewable energy technologies. The leaders also committed to increasing grid reliability and resiliency, including collaboration on smart grid standards and technology to make energy use more efficient and reliable in both Mexico and the United States.
Recognizing that the cleanest source of energy is more efficient energy use, the Presidents committed the relevant agencies in each government to hold joint workshops this fall to accelerate energy efficiency improvements in the building and transportation sectors, including green building certification, enhanced trade in green building materials, and best practices in light-duty vehicle mileage regulation.
In the context of discussing a shared clean energy future, the Presidents recognized the increasing interplay of trade and climate policies and the importance of engaging directly on these. Both committed to direct their trade authorities to commence a dialogue with other countries on these issues. In particular, the Presidents committed to explore the possibility of early action to liberalize tariffs on climate-friendly technologies as a first step towards encouraging mutually supportive trade and climate policies.
The two Leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and stressed the importance of reaching a successful outcome in Cancun. President Obama supported Mexico's leadership role as chair of the 16th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC and expressed readiness to work with Mexico. Both leaders also underscored their commitment to the Copenhagen Accord and its implementation.
The Presidents noted the long history of bilateral cooperation in the conservation of natural and cultural resources. They recognized that Big Bend National Park and Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River in the United States and the Protected Areas of Maderas del Carmen, Cañon de Santa Elena, Ocampo, and Río Bravo del Norte in Mexico together comprise one of the largest and most significant ecological complexes in North America. In doing so, they recognized that increased cooperation in these protected areas would restrict development and enhance security in the region and within this fragile desert ecosystem. To preserve this region of extraordinary biological diversity, they expressed their support for the United States Department of Interior and the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources of the United Mexican States to work through appropriate national processes to recognize and designate Big Bend -- Rio Bravo as a natural area of binational interest. The Presidents underscored their commitment to manage the region in a way that enhances security and protects these areas for wildlife preservation, ecosystem restoration, climate change adaptation, wildland fire management, and invasive species control.
Both Presidents expressed their commitment to ensure energy security in North America and to the safe, efficient and equitable exploitation of transboundary reservoirs with the highest degree of safety and environmental standards, and instructed their teams to take steps, consistent with the findings of key investigations into the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, toward advancing that shared commitment. In this regard, they instructed their teams to seek a moratorium on exploitation activities along the maritime boundary in the Western Gap in the Gulf of Mexico. President Obama thanked President Calderon for the offers of assistance Mexico has provided with regard to on-going efforts related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in accordance with the United States-Mexico Joint Contingency Plan for Maritime Pollution.
Cooperating Against Transnational Organized Crime
The Presidents highlighted the abiding importance of safeguarding communities on both sides of our shared border and reaffirmed their mutual commitment to confront criminal organizations that represent a serious threat to the security and well-being of Mexicans and Americans. They recognized that the United States and Mexico share responsibility for defeating and dismantling the illicit criminal networks that traffic drugs into the United States, and illegal weapons and illicit revenues into Mexico, and that these transnational networks are associated with much of the crime and violence occurring in Mexico today. Both Presidents evaluated on-going efforts to stem the illegal flow of weapons and bulk cash into Mexico and will seek to reinforce cooperation and efforts in this critical area.
The Presidents recognized that the Twenty-First Century Border must ensure the safety and security of residents in communities along both sides of the border and affirmed the mutual interest of Mexico and the United States to prevent entry into our countries of people who pose a threat to the national security of both nations. The Presidents affirmed their commitment to close, continuing, and constant bilateral cooperation and coordination to combat illicit activities and transnational criminal organizations. They pledged to work together to prevent human smuggling and trafficking.
The Presidents reviewed and endorsed the work of the U.S.-Mexico Mérida Initiative High-Level Group, which met in March, 2010, in Mexico City to lay out a shared vision for on-going and future security cooperation between the United States and Mexico. Consistent with that vision, the Presidents directed that cooperation focus on four elements: disrupting the capacity of criminal organizations that act in both countries by weakening their operational, logistical, and financial capabilities; supporting efforts to strengthen public institutions responsible for combating organized crime, including the promotion of the full observance of rule of law, human rights, and active civil society participation; developing a secure and competitive Twenty-First Century Border; and, building strong and resilient communities in both countries by supporting efforts to address the root causes of crime and violence, especially concerning youth, promoting the culture of lawfulness, reducing illicit drug use, and stemming the flow of potential recruits for the cartels by promoting constructive, legal alternatives for young people.
The Presidents recognized the particular importance of these four elements, and of robust bilateral cooperation to act upon them, in border communities that unite our two countries, such as Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, and El Paso, Texas. From the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific, communities on both sides of the border share deep economic and social ties, and an interest in their own safety and welfare as well as that of their neighbors. The Presidents committed to work together against organized criminal groups in the border region and to cooperate to promote public safety and social resiliency, and to bring people and institutions together across our shared border.
They also received a progress report and took stock of the on-going efforts to define a bilateral implementation plan that includes a roadmap of next steps and the benchmarking necessary to measure success.
President Obama discussed with President Calderón a number of enhancements to U.S. civilian law enforcement efforts in the Southwest Border region to ensure that the United States is doing all that it can to safeguard the population there and deter illegal flows in both directions across that border, including the deployment of increased resources and personnel from the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice.
Both Presidents reviewed the implementation status of the Merida Initiative and the steps taken to expedite delivery of security-related resources under the Initiative to Mexico. As a follow up to discussions at the recent High-Level Group meeting in Mexico, President Calderon welcomed President Obama's commitment to deliver, earlier than planned, a number of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft that will complement the Government of Mexico's efforts against transnational organized criminal organizations.
The Presidents recognized that illicit drugs take a heavy toll on the health of our citizens and our communities and acknowledged that we must work to reduce drug use and minimize the consequences of such use, emphasizing both treatment and prevention. They endorsed the shared priorities established at the Binational Conference on Drug Demand Reduction in February, 2010, and at the meeting of the Mérida Initiative High-Level Group. These priorities include the development of a Bilateral Assessment on Drug Demand and Prevalence of Use; making addiction treatment a part of mainstream medical practice; implementing broadly drug screening, intervention, and referral for treatment techniques; expanding drug prevention efforts in the schools and the wider community; implementing accreditation standards for drug treatment providers; and expanding the role of the criminal justice system in ending drug abuse and reducing recidivism.
Enhancing Social Well-Being and Ties between Our People
Both Presidents underscored that human capital is one of the most important assets that our two countries share.
President Obama underscored his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform in the United States and detailed his Administration's extensive work to engage partners in the United States Congress from both political parties to create a modern immigration system that honors our tradition as a nation of laws, and a nation of immigrants. President Calderón reaffirmed his vision for creating a Mexico where all Mexicans have an opportunity to work and educate their children, while reiterating the importance that all immigrants be treated with full respect of their civil and human rights and acknowledging their significant contributions to the economic, social and cultural vitality of the United States. Both acknowledged the importance of fixing the broken immigration system, securing the common border and dismantling human trafficking groups, and to set clear rules and priorities for future immigration that level the playing field for American workers while providing a mechanism to fill labor demand in the United States in excess of domestic capacity.
The Presidents also took note of the strong educational ties and close academic collaboration that the people of the United States and Mexico have enjoyed for many years. They looked forward to expanding these programs by initiating a new exchange program for high school students to promote mutual understanding. The Presidents committed their governments to build upon this pilot program, co-financed with the private sector, to help bring together the next generation of leaders from the United States and Mexico.
The Presidents acknowledged the contributions of the Peace Corps to the bilateral relationship and directed their respective authorities to work together to expand the presence of Peace Corps volunteers in Mexico, increasing cooperation with civil society organizations and promoting community development and volunteerism. Since 2004, hundreds of Peace Corps volunteers have worked with Mexicans to transfer technologies, create business opportunities, and promote conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
Engaging in the Hemisphere and Around the Globe
Recognizing the importance of cooperation in various multilateral fora, President Obama and President Calderón reaffirmed their intent to coordinate closely on key issues pending before the Organization of American States, the United Nations, and the G20, among other international, multilateral institutions and fora.
In the Americas, the Presidents reaffirmed the importance of defending the core principles and values of democratic governance, respect for human rights, and self-determination in the Hemisphere and around the world. They stressed the need for regional consensus-building to achieve greater cooperation. The Presidents discussed the importance of working together to help foster more systematic security cooperation, particularly among the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean, to confront the challenge of transnational illicit networks. They also underscored the important work underway in the context of the Pathways to Prosperity Initiative and the Inter-American Social Protection Network that is promoting greater economic and social inclusion throughout the Americas.
The Presidents reaffirmed the importance of defending the core principles and values of democratic governance, respect for basic human rights, non-intervention, and self-determination in the Americas. In the case of Honduras, President Obama and President Calderón recognized the important strides the country has taken since the elections held in November 2009 to restore the democratic and constitutional order following the June 28, 2009 coup, and expressed their support for the on-going process of national reconciliation and for Honduras' prompt return to full participation in the Organization of American States and in all inter-American institutions. In the case of Haiti, both Presidents reviewed their respective actions as part of the massive international relief effort following the January 12 earthquake. President Calderón commended the United States for the vital role it played in facilitating disaster response and relief actions, and President Obama thanked Mexico for its important contributions to that effort. Both Presidents agreed to continue bilateral consultations and coordination to help consolidate Haiti's reconstruction efforts.
As global partners who share common values, as members of the most relevant international bodies, and as part of their efforts to continue expanding the strategic dialogue between both nations, the Presidents exchanged views on several global issues of common concern. Taking into account the presence of both the United States and Mexico in the United Nations Security Council, they paid special attention to the current situation of the non-proliferation regime and to nuclear disarmament issues in the context of the on-going Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. The two leaders committed to work to achieve a successful Review Conference and in that regard expressed their readiness to cooperate to strengthen the capacity of the international community to enforce this regime and to progress on the full access to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy for countries that comply with their international obligations. In this regard, the Presidents underscored their full determination to decisively support the IAEA and its verification efforts by addressing situations of special concern in the relevant international bodies of the United Nations System and its Security Council, including Iran's continued failure to meet its international obligations on its nuclear program.
President Obama and President Calderón reaffirmed the importance of the G20 as the premier international economic forum, and discussed the need for continued focus on economic recovery and job creation. The Leaders also discussed their efforts to implement the Pittsburgh Summit commitments, and call on all G20 members to make progress on fulfilling G20 commitments in advance of the Toronto Summit.
The bilateral dialogue between Presidents Obama and Calderón underscores their commitment to strengthening the strategic partnership between both countries, and they will continue working closely together in bilateral, trilateral, and multilateral fora over the coming months, as befitting two partners and nations uniquely important for the well-being, prosperity and security of one another.