Joint Statement with Mexican President Vincente Fox
March 22, 2002
meeting today was a valuable opportunity to celebrate the strength and vitality
of the U.S.-Mexican bilateral partnership over the past year, and discuss our
priorities for the year ahead.
Our two nations have developed a historic level of trust and mutual respect,
strengthened by common values and purposes, that has facilitated an unprecedented
degree of bilateral cooperation over the past year. It is a high national priority
of both nations to continue building on that cooperation over the coming years
and harnessing it for the achievement of the important goals of economic and
social development, security, and rule of law that are essential to both countries?
In this context, we agreed that the international campaign to eradicate terrorism
requires us to address pressing new priorities and shared goals central to defending
our societies and ways of life. At the same time, we recognized that the events
of September 11 underscore more than ever the importance of the U.S.-Mexican
relationship, as partners and neighbors, in the attainment of those goals and
in realizing the vision we have set forth for our countries? future. Hence,
we reviewed what we are doing together to create a 'smart border? for the 21st
century. We will build a border that protects our societies against those who
would do us harm, and that truly serves the human and economic needs of our
dynamic relationship. We share a vision of a modern border that speeds the legitimate
flow of people and commerce, and filters out all that threatens our safety and
The 'smart border? declaration and action plan we have just adopted sets out
a series of specific steps we will take to move concretely toward that vision.
The twenty-point action plan comprises measures that will enhance the secure
flow of goods and people, and build a modern and efficient infrastructure that
keeps pace with commerce. We intend to monitor this process closely to ensure
the fastest possible implementation of these and other steps on which we may
agree. Both governments will work expeditiously to prioritize infrastructure
investment needs and cooperate to identify funding sources.
Slightly more than one year ago, in Guanajuato, we talked about migration as
one of the major ties that join our societies. We launched then the frankest
and most productive dialogue our countries have ever had on this important and
challenging subject. Those talks have continued over the past year, and have
yielded a clearer assessment of the scope and nature of this issue. This bond
between our nations can render countless benefits to our respective economies
and families. Over the past year, important progress has been made to enhance
migrant safety and particularly in saving lives by discouraging and reducing
illegal crossings in dangerous terrain.
On September 7, 2001, during President Fox's historic State Visit to Washington,
we issued a joint statement instructing our cabinet-level working group to provide
us with specific proposals to forge a new and realistic framework that will
ensure a safe, legal, orderly, and dignified migration flow between our countries.
We have today agreed that our Cabinet level migration group should continue
the work we charged it with in Guanajuato and Washington.
When we first met as Presidents, we described our shared vision to help unfetter
the economic potential of every citizen, so each may contribute fully to narrowing
the economic gaps between and within our societies. To help implement that vision,
we launched the ?Partnership for Prosperity.? The Partnership seeks to leverage
private resources to create jobs and promote prosperity in less developed areas
of Mexico. Today, we welcomed the Partnership's action plan of concrete and
innovative initiatives on housing, agriculture, infrastructure, remittances,
communications, development financing and information technologies. Some examples
? Lowering the cost to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the United States of
sending money home so that their families get to keep more of their hard-earned
? Increasing the accessibility of capital to Mexican entrepreneurs so that they
can grow their businesses and create more and better jobs. ? Increasing investment
in housing, and the creation of a secondary mortgage market, so more Mexicans
can become homeowners.
Our aim is to foster economic development so that no Mexican feels compelled
to leave his or her home for a lack of a job or opportunity. While achieving
the Partnership's goals will require time and persistent effort, the initial
steps detailed in this report will build a strong foundation for long-term success.
We will closely follow implementation of these promising steps. We are confident
that the high level officials we have tasked with turning our vision into reality
will produce results that will make us both proud and benefit both our countries.
We commend the ongoing success of the Training, Internship, Education and Scholarship
program (TIES), designed to support the Partnership for Prosperity by enhancing
conditions for sustained development in Mexico. Over the next five years this
$50 million initiative is expected to implement 35 partnerships between Mexican
and U.S. higher education institutions and to provide hundreds of scholarships
for undergraduate exchanges and graduate studies in the United States.
When we met in Washington in September we talked about the importance of addressing
urgent environmental priorities on the border. After a series of discussions
with border states, the local communities, and other stakeholders, our binational
working group has finalized a series of specific recommendations to strengthen
the performance of the North American Development Bank (NADBank), and its sister
institution the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC).
As these institutions continue to work on urgent environmental infrastructure
priorities in the border areas, both governments will work with their legislatures
to make the recommendations a reality. The recommendations include measures
to make financing more affordable, expand the geographic scope on the Mexican
side of the border in which projects can be financed, replacing the two institutions?
separate boards of directors with a single board to oversee their work, and
facilitate efforts to work with and co-finance environmental projects with the
Cooperation against organized crime remains a cornerstone of the bilateral agenda.
We acknowledged major successes achieved by Mexico in the fight against narco-trafficking.
We agreed on the importance of redoubling judicial cooperation aimed at bolstering
the rule of law in both countries and strengthening our ability to ensure the
safety of our citizens.
We also reviewed regional political issues of interest to both countries, including
sharing assessments of the situations in Argentina, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela.
We have consulted frequently, as friends and neighbors, over the past six months
as we have sought to advance a vision of growing partnership aimed at increasing
prosperity, greater economic convergence between our two economies, raising
living standards, and ensuring the security of both societies. Our commitment
to this fundamental agenda, and to the importance of our partnership, is stronger
than ever. We will continue our close and productive dialogue in the months
and years ahead as we take full advantage of the great opportunities before
our two nations.