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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2006 > March
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 24, 2006


Accomplishments of the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission Meeting

[Remarks by Secretary Rice and Mexican Foreign Secretary Derbez]

Since the first Binational Commission meeting (BNC) in 1981, the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico has become increasingly interconnected, due in no small part to the work of the BNC. The relationship has been characterized by a growing interdependence in commerce, culture, and law enforcement that has made our two countries stronger and more prosperous. As a result of the increased cooperation generated by past BNCs:

The U.S.-Mexico Border has become one of the most economically integrated and active regions in the world. Just over a decade after NAFTA, four years into the Partnership for Prosperity, and on the first anniversary of the Security and Prosperity Partnership for North America (SPP), we have deepened our economic integration. In the past decade, Mexico has received nearly $98 billion in direct U.S. investment, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue for both Mexican and U.S. companies. Our long border and increasing interdependence in trade and security make for a vast bilateral agenda, much of which was covered in working groups that met in Washington today. To facilitate the secure and efficient flow of travelers and goods across our border, throughout the year we opened additional expedited entry lanes ("SENTRI" program) in El Paso/Juarez and Calexico/Mexicali, and both countries have granted the necessary permission to build a Free and Secure Trade Program (FAST) lane for commercial traffic crossing at Nogales, Arizona. A public-private partnership will push this project forward and fund the effort.

We have greatly improved our law enforcement cooperation. In the past, we have agreed on measures to strengthen Mexican institutions that are threatened by continuing drug violence along the border. Today, the U.S. and Mexican Attorneys General and our Secretary of Homeland Security and Mexico’s Secretary of Governance reviewed the progress made in strengthening the day-to-day tactical and strategic cooperation between our law enforcement agencies. Our efforts together will target cross-border trafficking in narcotics, arms and people and address the violence and others risks to public safety that these illegal activities spawn. The U.S. applauded the record number of suspects Mexico extradited to the U.S. last year, showing that criminals have no place to hide on either side of the border. We have continued our cooperative measures to assist the Mexican government in modernizing and better equipping the justice sector institutions responsible for confronting the continuing crime and violence perpetrated by trafficking organizations, gangs and other criminals.

We renewed our commitment to protecting our citizens. We acknowledged that the protection of our citizens is the most important responsibility of any country. U.S. and Mexican authorities discussed the movement of people across our borders and our mutual interest in ensuring that these movements are safe, legal and orderly, that they contribute to our mutual prosperity, and do not pose a threat to our mutual security.

We have greatly improved our environmental cooperation. USAID, U.S. EPA and the Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) have signed a Letter of Cooperation identifying areas of collaboration under the Methane to Markets Partnership that recovers methane from sources in the oil and gas, landfills and animal waste sector and elsewhere and brings it to market. The U.S. also applauds Mexico for its commitment to the delivery of low-sulfur fuels in key areas of Mexico beginning this year. USAID, the U.S. Forest Service, and SEMARNAT are cooperating on a wide variety of issues, including forest management, forest fire prevention, watershed protection, and renewable energy. We conveyed our support for President Fox’s Mesoamerica energy initiative through USAID and USTDA programs in Central America and our participation in the Inter American Development Bank. The U.S. Department of Interior and SEMARNAT agreed to continue technical exchanges and cooperation on the management and protection of national parks and protected natural areas in the U.S. and Mexico, and also officially recognized seven new sister park relationships. Finally, as part of Border 2012 commitments, both countries have increased collaboration on water and energy efficiency programs with three Mexican states and several municipalities on our common border.

We expanded trade possibilities under NAFTA. The Department of Transportation and its Mexican counterpart discussed broad cooperation in the areas of land, sea, and air transport within the Security and Prosperity Partnership program (SPP). They also discussed efforts to improve aviation safety and efficiency, for example, through use of satellite navigation technology.

We have expanded our cooperation on good governance. On November 9-11, 2005, USAID and the Mexican Secretary of Public Administration held a "Regional Good Government Forum" in Mexico City. The forum shared information on best practices and lessons learned from the Government of Mexico’s forward-looking Good Government and Innovation Programs. USAID is now working with the Mexican Government to respond to technical assistance requests from the Central American countries. USAID has also supported the efforts of Mexico and its states to modernize criminal justice systems to better serve their citizens, increase their access to justice, and make them more secure.

We have strengthened our assistance to Mexico in the area of social development. USAID has supported the efforts of Mexico’s Secretariat of Social Development and Mexico’s bank supervisors to reduce the cost of sending remittances from Mexicans living in the United States. Furthermore, our joint efforts facilitated increased use of these funds for productive activities, especially micro-enterprise development, by strengthening the local financial institutions.

We have expanded our civil aviation cooperation. A Civil Aviation Agreement amendment signed late last year expands the opportunities for U.S. and Mexican airlines to fly between the United States and Mexico. Liberalized air traffic will help increase tourism, trade, and economic growth.

We have strengthened and expanded our educational exchanges. In 2001, Presidents Bush and Fox announced the U.S.-Mexico Training Internship, Education, and Scholarship Initiative (TIES), an 8-year, $50 million public-private alliance designed to spur social and economic growth by supporting higher education programs, scholarships, and university linkages between our two countries. This year, ten new U.S.-Mexico university partnerships will be awarded by USAID, bringing to 55 the total number of university partnerships created under the program. A total of 174 teachers from both countries participated this year in Fulbright-Garcia Robles exchange programs. Over time, teacher exchange programs have improved education for 25,000 children in both countries.

We have expanded our cultural cooperation. From the Maya exhibit held at the National Gallery last spring to the Aztec exhibit at the Guggenheim last fall, to the multi-year Mexican tour of the Native American photography of Edward S. Curtis and the 2006 exhibit of Mark Rothko works loaned by the U.S. National Gallery of Art to Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art, the U.S. and Mexico have expanded our cultural exchanges and have committed to increased mutual understanding through the arts. The Kennedy Center’s president, Michael Kaiser, has undertaken a multi-year project to share American expertise in arts management with Mexican professionals. Mexican First Lady Mrs. Fox was in Washington March 13 to inaugurate an exhibition on Mexican and Peruvian women.

We have strengthened our scientific cooperation. This year the U.S. and Mexican government collaborated extensively to begin monitoring air quality, one example of both governments’ ongoing commitment to scientific and technological cooperation that betters the lives of our citizens and people all over the world.

We have expanded our cooperation in housing. HUD and Mexico’s Commission on Housing hosted two forums last year on housing innovation and technology, in which public and private sector experts discussed new and innovative housing technologies and examined the building regulatory systems in both countries. HUD assisted in the placement for four Mexican housing officials in local and state governments under the American Fellows Program.

2006/306

Released on March 24, 2006

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