Mexico City, June 30, 2014 –Commerce Secretary Pritzker and Mexican Economy Secretary Guajardo held a digital video conference to conduct a mid-year review of the HLED and to prioritize initiatives. Also participating in the conference were representatives from the Departments of State, Transportation, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Treasury, Labor, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Customs and Border Protection, the White House and U.S. Embassy Mexico, along with their Mexican counterparts from the Secretariats of Foreign Affairs, Economy, Finance, Communications and Transport, Agriculture, Labor, the National Entrepreneurship Institute, and ProMexico.
The HLED discussions permit the U.S. and Mexico to advance strategic economic and commercial priorities central to promoting mutual economic growth, job creation, and global competitiveness. Within these goals, our governments endeavor to, among other objectives, improve logistics networks; jointly promote investment; deepen regulatory cooperation; strengthen our shared border and make it more efficient; foster entrepreneurship and innovation; support transparency and anti-corruption through the Open Government Partnership; and take other measures to better integrate our economies and make our region more competitive.
During the videoconference, principals reviewed the HLED’s successes since its September launch. We signed an investment promotion Memorandum of Intent regarding cooperation on investment promotion in April. In addition, we held a peer exchange on traffic and freight modeling with the goal of coordinating our binational strategic freight plans, and launched two border cluster mapping pilots to identify local industry assets to develop regional economic development strategies. Five of the six border master plans, which are designed to better coordinate infrastructure and development in border communities have been completed, with the sixth on track to be completed by the middle of 2015. Last month, both countries came together for the first official round of formal negotiations toward a liberalized aviation agreement. Also, in a closely related effort, our governments held six binational working group meetings on the Bilateral Forum for Education, Innovation, and Research (FOBESII) announced by President Obama and President Peña -Nieto in May 2013. The Bilateral Forum was officially launched on May 21, 2014 during the visit of Secretary Kerry to Mexico City.
The HLED has already begun to produce measureable progress, and we will continue to push forward on key priorities as we prepare for the next Cabinet-level meeting in the fall. Progress report and HLED work stream specifics.
Officials also agreed that it is vital to continue ensuring stakeholder voices are a key part of the HLED. Both governments have already formally requested input – the Department of Commerce via a January Federal Register notice seeking public comment, to which 39 stakeholders responded with input on issues ranging from regulatory cooperation to efficient border management. Similarly, the Mexican Secretariat of Economy solicited public comments through a notice published in its Diario Oficial, receiving 43 submissions on many of the same topics. Recently, in a meeting earlier this month of the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue, important private sector players also provided comments on HLED priorities. Both governments have closely considered this feedback and included several items in the existing HLED work stream, but principals noted that feedback should be ongoing.
Although the U.S. Federal Register public comment period is closed, the U.S. Government invites interested parties to submit questions and feedback via the HLED website and e-mail address. The HLED features continuous government-to-government engagement throughout the year.