Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is my great pleasure to attend the Brand USA Independence Day Celebration event with you all this evening and to commemorate this year’s July 4th celebration—the 239th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America.
I would like to begin by acknowledging the importance of the U.S.-Mexico commercial and economic relationship. It simply cannot be overstated. Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner and our second largest export market. More than $580 billion dollars in trade in goods crosses our mutual border every year, plus another $48 billion dollars in service trade. This tremendous figure comes out to approximately $1.6 billion dollars each day. And, this trade has grown more than 5% a year on average in each of the past four years.
The activities of Brand U.S.A. are an important part of this success story. Travel and tourism is a vibrant part of our two economies. Brand U.S.A. is a dynamic public-private partnership (PPP) with the mission of promoting international travel to the United States. In particular, Brand USA Mexico is part of the Mission Mexico Travel and Tourism Workgroup. We actively collaborate to increase international visitation, dollars spent, and market share in order to fuel the U.S. economy and to enhance the image of the USA worldwide. And it is working! Let’s take a moment to review the numbers:
- Travel and tourism exports account for 65 percent of all U.S. service exports to Mexico.
- The United States is the primary destination for Mexican travelers and Mexico is the second largest source of international travelers to the United States, after Canada.
- In 2014, 17.3 million Mexicans traveled to the United States—a number that represents 20 percent of total of inbound international arrivals to the United States.
- And we expect that total arrivals to the U.S. from Mexico will grow another five percent in 2015.
In addition to promoting the United States as a premier travel destination through consumer and travel trade marketing, advertising, events, and promotions, Brand USA also works with the U.S. Federal government to communicate U.S. entry and security processes that will help make the journey to and into the United States easier and more welcoming. Yes, indeed, our partnership with Brand USA Mexico is a successful one and we look forward to continued successful collaboration going forward.
As you all know, the category of travel and tourism also includes business travel. Together with many of you in the private sector, we have been working hard to facilitate our bilateral commerce and advance our shared economic priorities. The Global Entry program helps to enable this success. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports. Global Entry is part of the trusted traveler network and allows participants reduced wait times and access to expedited entry benefits in other countries—such as Mexico’s Viajero Confiable.
Through such programs as Global Entry and Viajero Confiable, we are working to improve our border management, increase regulatory cooperation, and foster entrepreneurship. Our two nations have elevated our economic relationships in order to open opportunities for consumers, employees, private sector representatives, and business owners on both sides of the border. We are also moving ahead on cultural and educational programs to develop the language and technical skills of our young people so that the coming generations can more easily work across borders and secure our regional prosperity in the decades to come.
Over 18,000 American companies have operations in Mexico, and with each passing year, more and more Mexican companies are investing in the United States—as you all well know. This trade and investment flow supports millions of jobs in both countries in sectors ranging from financial services to manufacturing, energy and retail. In short, we trade with each other now more than ever. We invest in each other’s countries now more than ever. We build things together now more than ever. And we are innovating and creating together more than ever. This all means that we are realizing our goal of making North America the most competitive and interconnected region in the world.
Fortunately, like never before, our two countries are seated together at the table, working through critical issues that affect both our countries’ economic performance. I thank you for your commitment to our bilateral relationship. We look forward to continuing to work with you to improve the foundation for competitiveness in Mexico and the United States so that your companies can continue to succeed.
Our mutual success hinges on input from you—the companies that anchor the economic relationship between our two countries. Tell us which problems we could address that would pave the way for your companies to grow. This type of collaborative exchange can help us identify, address, and overcome the issues that keep our economic relationship from reaching its full productive potential.
Simply, I would like to thank you all deeply for the tremendous work you have done and for the great collaborations you have created with the Embassy and with partners in the United States and in Mexico. I have been truly impressed by your efforts and will be forever proud to have been part of this Mission. I sincerely hope we will have the opportunity to work with you again in the future.
We hope you enjoy this evening’s celebration, and Happy Fourth of July!