The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 4, 2001

Fact Sheet on Binational Commission
Joint Cabinet Meeting/BNC

     Held alternately in Washington and Mexico City, the Cabinet-level Binational Commission (BNC) is the principal mechanism for focusing high-level attention on the full range of issues affecting relations between the United States and Mexico. The United States hosted the 2000 BNC, and again in 2001 because of the State Visit of President Fox September.

     The Binational Commission was established in 1981 by Presidents Reagan and Lopez Portillo to serve as a forum for meetings between Cabinet-level officials from both countries.  The BNC was envisioned as a simple, flexible tool that would meet once or twice annually, with U.S. and Mexican counterparts addressing topics requiring high-level attention.

     Following the President's trip to Guanajuato in February 2001, the United States and Mexico agreed to streamline and upgrade the BNC.  Its 16 working groups were arranged under seven new thematically linked "Binational Groups" jointly chaired by a Mexican and U.S. Cabinet officer. The reorganization reflects the management approach of both Presidents and their desire to strengthen the effectiveness, accountability, and problem-solving orientation of the BNC.  The 16 sub-groups continue to meet as necessary throughout the year under Cabinet-level direction.  The Cabinet Binational Group chairs will meet annually with the two Presidents to report on their activities and to receive direction for the next year. The first such joint Cabinet meeting will take place during President Fox's State Visit.

     The seven Binational Groups will cover the following themes: migration ; law enforcement and counternarcotics; border affairs; trade and economics ; energy; global and social issues, and foreign policy.  Each group established its own schedule of bilateral meetings, and the subgroups under each Binational Group have met independently to explore specific topics in depth.

     The Binational Groups, and their sub-groups, are chaired at the cabinet level.  Some of the groups have co-chairs on one or both sides. The chairs of the binational groups that will brief the presidents are the heads of the following departments:
Group U.S. Mexico
Migration State/Justice Foreign Relations/Government
Law Enforcement/Counternarcotics Justice National Security Adv./Attorney General
Border Affairs State Foreign Relations
Trade and Economics USTR/Agriculture Finance/Economy/Agriculture
Energy Energy Energy
Bilateral Cooperation EPA/Education Commissioner for Social Development
Foreign Policy State Foreign Relations

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