Ambassador Wayne’s Remarks at the Launch of “The U.S. – Mexico Border Economy in Transition: Report of the 2014 Regional Economic Competitiveness Foru

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good afternoon.

I would like to thank Undersecretary Alcocer for inviting me to be here at SRE for the launch of this important report, La economía fronteriza México – Estados Unidos en transición, produced by the Wilson Center and the North American Research Partnership.  I remember being here nearly two years ago when The State of the Border Report, which was also produced by the Wilson Center and others with support from the U.S. Government, was first presented. The analysis and many of the recommendations from that report have been influential in discussions on how the U.S. and Mexico can reap greater economic and cultural benefits from improved management of the U.S. – Mexico border.  I hope that the report that we are launching today, which reflects input from stakeholders from throughout the border region, will have a similar impact.

One of the priorities of the U.S. – Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) is strengthening and modernizing the Mexico – U.S. border. Interdependence is a natural state of affairs along the border.  From public health to natural resource management to security, what happens on one side of the border has a major impact on the other.  In no area is this clearer than in the economic development and competitiveness of the region.

Our economic relationship is increasingly understood as one of partnership where we maximize opportunities in the competitive global economy together.  Facilitating trade across the U.S. – Mexico border and the development of the potential of the border region is essential to realizing North America’s potential.

Through processes like the 21st Century Border Management Initiative, the U.S. and Mexican governments have pledged to identify priority projects and reduce bottlenecks at the border, while keeping security standards high. The border region is also the locus of many of the other binational projects that are being advanced through the HLED process.

Regular stakeholder engagement is a fundamental component of the HLED. By supporting the four Regional Economic Competitiveness Forums that were held along the U.S. – Mexico border in 2014, as well as the publication of the report that is being launched today, the U.S. Government has contributed to the ongoing dialogue among key stakeholders in the border region on binational economic issues. These issues include the promotion of more efficient and secure trade between Mexico and the United States, the development of human capital (including investing in women’s education and economic empowerment), and capitalizing on Mexico’s energy reforms while ensuring environmental sustainability – all of which would improve the competitiveness of the region and of North America as a whole.

We don’t want this report to just sit on a shelf. To the extent possible, we would like to see the report’s recommendations translated into action. And that is why we are supporting the efforts of the Council of State Governments and the Border Legislative Conference to share the report and a legislative roadmap with key legislators and legislative committees on both sides of the border. Our goal is to turn the good ideas of border stakeholders into legislation that will increase competitiveness, facilitate trade, and spur economic development in the border region.

Thank you.