US President Barack Obama on enhancing US-Mexico cooperation

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President Barack Obama

I want to focus on five areas where we can do more to help both our nations. First, let us do more to expand the trade and commerce that creates jobs for our people. We already buy more Mexican exports than any other country and sell more US exports to Mexico than we do to Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. Mexican companies are investing more in the US, and we are the largest foreign investor in Mexico. We believe in Mexico, and we want to be a partner in the country’s success.

Guided by the new economic dialogue that President Enrique Peña Nieto and I announced, we can do more to unlock the true potential of our relationship. Investment in roads, bridges and border crossings can encourage faster and cheaper trade. In addition, helping smaller businesses, which employ most of our workers, and accessing new markets across the border are also important. Young entrepreneurs should be empowered as they create the startups that can transform how we live. Moreover, realising the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2014, so that our two nations can compete and win in the fast-growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region, is another focus area.

Besides just trading with one another, we can also build more things together. With many US and Mexican companies operating in both countries, parts are now being shipped back and forth across the border as they are assembled. Workers from the US and Mexico are building things together, including cars, aircraft, computers and satellites. I believe this is only the beginning. Given the skills of workers in both countries, it makes even more sense for companies from around the world to set up shop in our countries. As Mexico reforms, we will be able to do even more business together. As such, the more that our companies collaborate, the more competitive they will be and the more products we can sell to the world.

Third, as we secure our economic future, we must also secure our energy future, including the clean energy needed to combat climate change. Our nations are blessed with boundless natural beauty, from coastlines and farmlands to tropical forests. And just as the science of climate change is undeniable, so is the fact that our economies must become greener. In the US, we have made historic commitments to clean and renewable energy, and reduced our emissions of harmful carbon pollution. Mexico is a leader in cutting carbon emissions and in helping developing countries do the same. Building new clean energy partnerships by harnessing wind and solar, and the good jobs that come with them, will be vital going forward. This also involves investment in green buildings and smart grid technologies, so that we are making our planet cleaner and it is safer for future generations.

Fourth, it is important to cooperate in education so that our young people have the knowledge and skills to succeed. In Mexico more children are staying in school for longer, and record numbers of students are getting a university education. Just imagine how much the students of both countries could do together and learn from each other. That is why President Peña Nieto and I announced a new partnership in higher education to encourage greater collaboration between our universities and students. We are going to focus on science, technology, engineering and maths. It is part of my broader initiative called “100,000 Strong in the Americas”. We want 100,000 students from the US studying in Latin America and we want 100,000 Latin American students to study in the US.

Finally, to help energise careers and spark the industries of the future, it is vital to invest in innovation and research and development (R&D). Mexico is a global leader in graduating engineers and technicians. One of Mexico’s leading scientists, Rafael Navarro-González, is helping to analyse data from the rover on Mars.

Every dollar and every peso that we invest in R&D brings more jobs and more opportunity. To this end, forging new partnerships in areas like aerospace, information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology and robotics will prove beneficial for both nations.

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