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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 6, 2001
Joint Statement between the United States of America and the United Mexican States
September 6, 2001
The three-day State Visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox to the United States celebrates the special friendship and authentic partnership that has been achieved by new leadership in the United States and Mexico. Mexico.
This first State Visit of the Bush Administration highlights the mutual trust and respect between our two Presidents and governments. It also testifies to the unequaled priority both Presidents attach to a practical and cooperative approach to the common opportunities and challenges we face as the well-being and prosperity of our peoples becomes increasingly intertwined in our shared North American community. This results-oriented approach, and the commitment to shared responsibility and partnership undergirding it, are already generating unprecedented levels of cooperation throughout our rich and diverse relationship.
With trade and investment between the United States and Mexico at record levels, the Presidents took stock of the success of NAFTA in bringing economic growth and development, and with it higher wages, more jobs, and lower prices for our citizens. They stressed the need to abide by the provisions of our free trade agreement and agreed to the importance of vigorous measures to ensure that the full benefits of economic development and trade are extended to all regions of Mexico.
To serve urgent environmental priorities in the border area, the Presidents agreed that immediate measures were needed to strengthen the performance of the North American Development Bank (NADBank), and its sister Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC), to identify and fund environmental infrastructure projects on the border. Presidents Bush and Fox agreed that a binational working group -- which will consult with national legislatures, border states, communities, and other stakeholders -- will develop joint recommendations and report back to the Presidents by October 31, 2001.
The Presidents praised the success of efforts to heighten cooperation on legal issues as a major step toward enhancing the rule of law and protecting public safety. They highlighted growing cooperation against migrant smuggling and other organized transborder crime, including a new agreement signed September 5, 2001, on sharing forfeited assets seized as a result of joint investigations. They praised in particular the growing trust between our law enforcement agencies that is making it possible to broaden the scope of cooperation in this area. Presidents Bush and Fox also expressed their support for new and more effective national and multilateral measures to increase international cooperation against drug trafficking. Specifically, they expressed support for the Organization of American State's ?Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism? as a promising example of such measures. In this regard, President Bush reiterated his Administration's commitment to work with the U.S. Congress, on a priority basis, to replace the annual counter-narcotics certification regime with new measures designed to enhance international cooperation in this area.
These and other areas of bilateral engagement were highlighted in an historic joint meeting of the U.S. and Mexican Cabinets on September 5. That session enabled the Cabinet-level chairpersons of our Binational Commission, streamlined and reinvigorated following the Presidents? meeting in Guanajuato, Mexico in February 2001, to report on the specific steps achieved since then to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
Their reports testified to the breadth of our relationship and to the progress we are achieving in countless areas that directly benefit the quality of life of our people. Examples of other items covered in the reports include: ? measures to improve safety and protect lives along our shared border; ? means of facilitating better coordination on border issues; ? a new agreement on food safety; ? steps to enhance cooperation on renewable and more efficient energy resources and cross-border interconnections; ? a major new scholarship program ($50 million) focused primarily on economic development disciplines; and ? regional cooperation to strengthen democracy and prosperity in the Western Hemisphere.
President Bush and President Fox also had a frank discussion about water resources and the importance of living up to our mutual treaty obligations in this regard. They agreed that in the future this could be well served by greater cooperation aimed at more effective watershed management and improved infrastructure, including formation of a joint advisory council.
The Presidents reviewed the progress made by our joint working group on migration chaired by Secretaries Powell, Castaneda, and Creel and Attorney General Ashcroft and noted this represented the most fruitful and frank dialogue we have ever had on a subject so important to both nations. They praised implementation of the border safety initiative, and recognized that migration-related issues are deeply felt by our publics and vital to our prosperity, well-being, and the kind of societies we want to build.
They renewed their commitment to forging new and realistic approaches to migration to ensure it is safe, orderly, legal and dignified, and agreed on the framework within which this ongoing effort is based. This includes: matching willing workers with willing employers; serving the social and economic needs of both countries; respecting the human dignity of all migrants, regardless of their status; recognizing the contribution migrants make to enriching both societies; shared responsibility for ensuring migration takes place through safe and legal channels. Both stressed their commitment to continue our discussions, instructing the high-level working group to reach mutually satisfactory results on border safety, a temporary worker program and the status of undocumented Mexicans in the United States. They requested that the working group provide them proposals with respect to these issues as soon as possible. The Presidents recognized that this is an extraordinarily challenging area of public policy, and that it is critical to address the issue in a timely manner and with appropriate thoroughness and depth.
To help address some of the root causes of migration, they agreed to form a public-private alliance to spur private sector growth throughout Mexico. This ?Partnership for Prosperity? initiative will harness the power of free markets to boost the social and economic well-being of citizens particularly in regions where economic growth has lagged and fueled migration. The development of this alliance will be spearheaded by senior-level coordinators on both sides, and will draw on the best expertise among Mexican and U.S. economists, business people and civil society to develop a concrete plan of action to be presented to the Presidents not later than March 1, 2002.
The Presidents expressed their strong support for the launch of a new round of trade negotiations in November at the WTO ministerial.
Both Presidents agreed that U.S.-Mexican relations have entered their most promising moment in history. Our governments are committed to seizing the opportunities before us in this new atmosphere of mutual trust. The depth, quality and candor of our dialogue is unprecedented. It reflects the democratic values we share and our commitment to move forward boldly as we deepen this authentic partnership of neighbors.
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