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Press Conference by President Obama and Mexican President Nieto, May 2013

Speakers: Barack Obama, and Enrique Peña Nieto
Published May 2, 2013

President Barack Obama and Mexican President Pena Nieto held this press conference in Mexico City after their meeting on May 2, 2013. They discussed immigration, security, and economic initiatives, and established the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue.

Excerpt from Nieto's remarks:

PRESIDENT NIETO: First of all, we have reached an agreement that the relation between Mexico and the United States should be broad in terms of the areas that it covers. It should open up opportunity and collaboration spaces in different arenas, with a very clear purpose in mind to make the North American region a more productive and competitive region that will, end result, trigger the enormous potential that our peoples have, that our nations have. And we're well aware of the fact that we can take stock of our bilateral relation within the framework of the agreements made, we have reached a new level of understanding as our two new administrations that began roughly at the same time -- the second term of President Obama and my administration.

Among the items that we covered I can speak for how relevant trade and commerce is in Mexico-U.S. relation. We have dimension of all the achievements made upon the free trade agreement and the benefits that our economies have received from it. The exports made from the U.S. to its top trade partners, Mexico and Canada, this represents one-third out of each three products that are exported from the U.S. and only the relation with Mexico is higher than the one the U.S. has with European countries like the U.K., France, the Netherlands all together, or the exports sent to China and Japan together doesn't reach the level that the U.S. has with Mexico.

I must stand out that the integration of our economies in the last years has shown to be relevant and the content of exports sent from Mexico have 40 percent of U.S. input. Therefor I can conclude that the more growth Mexico shows and the more capacity to export, the more benefit the U.S. gets. Jobs are created in Mexico; therefore jobs are created in the United States.

Therefore, one of the first agreements that we have made was to create a high-level dialogue that, within its framework, will foster trade and commerce with the United States. This means that for the first time -- and probably this is unprecedented -- we will have the Mexican economic cabinet with their counterparts from various government agencies from the United States, as well as high-ranking officials. And we've heard from the President that in this group, the Vice President of the United States will participate in order to set a dialogue that will result in arrangements in terms of how the government can support all the efforts made by the private sector in order to have stronger economic integration.

For this purpose, we have agreed that during the fall of this year, this high-level group will meet for the first time with the attendance of high-ranking officials to start working in the area of the economy.

We have also agreed to endeavor joint actions to have a safer border. Within the framework of the agreement made, we will have a 21st century border that was about to be defined the work and action agenda that our teams have already set up. And now, through this agenda, we will have safer borders that will enable and expedite the transit of people and goods that every day cross our borders.

We have also agreed to create a bi-national group in order to find joint actions and joint mechanisms to support entrepreneurs in both of our countries, and by this we will boost the SMEs in our countries. We believe that this mechanism will serve as an enabler and it will see further development for these small and medium-size companies that are present in both of our countries. And we hope that all the actions in the very near future will make the SMEs in the future becoming large enterprises. And this action will favor specifically young entrepreneurs in both our countries.

Thirdly, to boost our economy and our potential, we have agreed to create a bilateral forum on higher education, innovation and research. Two government agencies will work together -- CONACYT and the National Science Foundation from the U.S. -- and presidents from Mexico and U.S. universities will be part of this group. And by this, more exchanges will happen between Mexico and the U.S., and students coming from the U.S. to Mexico.

We have agreed that higher education serves as a platform to boost the economic potential that we have in our nations. In order to compete with the world, specifically the highly developed countries where science and technology have been the target of their efforts and investment, it is fundamental that we have well-prepared youngsters with the skills necessary to give our economic development a greater strength and a greater capacity.

In a different arena, we have addressed security. We have both recognized the level of cooperation that the U.S. has shown towards the Mexican government. And the strategy in the area of security in our country has a very clear purpose, and that is to fight organized crime in all of its forms, be it drug dealing, kidnapping for ransom, extortion, or any crime perpetrated. We are not going to renounce that responsibility as a government and my administration. We're going to face crime in all of its forms.

But in our new strategy we have emphasized the fact that we will reduce violence. Fortunately systems between Mexicans to fight organized crime and reduce violence are not objectives that contradict each other. There is no clash between these two goals. These are two goals that fall within the framework of one same strategy. And President Obama's administration has expressed his will, as we know, to cooperate on the basis of mutual respect, to be more efficient in our security strategy that we are implementing in Mexico.

I have shared with President Obama as well what Mexico has done during the first months of my administration. I have shared with President Obama that Mexico has reached maturity in terms of its democracy. All political forces in the country have reached political maturity, and have shown to be civil and have managed to show respect to each other and also towards the government of Mexico. Together we have managed to set up a working agenda that, end result, will advance the reforms that will transform this structure that Mexico needs to boost its development. I have shared with President Obama the fact that we recognize all political voices in Mexico.

Finally, I would like to share with all of you that we fully agree that our nations, our peoples must move from being neighbors to being part of a community. We are already part of a trade integration process. We have reached high levels of development. But still there is potential to make of our nations, through collaboration and integration of North America we can make a more productive and a more competitive region.

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