E X E C U T I V E O F F I C E O F T H E P R E S I D E N T
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 21, 1993
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE OCCASION OF THE MEETING OF THE U.S.-MEXICO BINATIONAL COMMISSION
Today, the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission is holding its tenth meeting at the State Department. I want to extend a very warm welcome to the members of the cabinet of President Salinas and to say a few words about our warm friendship with Mexico.
There is no closer partnership between two nations than that which we have with our neighbor Mexico. We share strong ties of history. Our cultures are richly interwoven, our people share strong bonds of kinship and fellowship. And the peaceful cooperation of the communities along our 2000 mile border is important to both of our peoples.
An important sign of our close relations is the Binational Commission itself, which provides a forum for our cabinets to meet annually to work on issues ranging from the environment to education to telecommunications.
Another sign of our partnership is our increasingly close cooperation in world affairs and our commitment to the success of democracy in this hemisphere. We worked together to help end the war in El Salvador. Mexico has contributed to the International Civilian Mission of human rights observers in Haiti. Mexico's leadership in the OAS was critical to the successful collective defense of democracy in Guatemala. And President Salinas speaks with a special authority as one of the world's leading economic reformers when he calls for progress in the Uruguay round to expand world trade.
Mexico and we agree that the movement toward open markets and free trade in Latin America is vital for the long-term success and strengthening of democracy and human rights in this hemisphere. The countries of Latin America have already made great strides.
The emergence of democractically elected governments in the region has permitted Latin America to modernize and develop.
The Latin countries have made enormous progress restructuring and opening their economies, controlling inflation and increasing the competitiveness of their productive sectors. In the last two years, for the first time in a decade, Latin America has had real growth in per capita income.
Free trade agreements have contributed to the progress in regional integration.
freedoms and accelerated the pace of integration. With the support of the OAS and the UN, internal conflicts in Nicaragua and El Salvador have ended and hopefully will soon end in Guatemala. The OAS routinely observes the freedom of elections across the region. Sub-regional free trade agreements have emerged throughout the hemisphere.
These are points that were recently well articulated by Foreign Minister Solana at the OAS and that we enthusiastically embrace.
Increasingly today, the line has blurred between domestic and foreign policies: what we seek to do abroad directly affects us at home. No relationship illustrates better the strong linkage between foreign and domestic policies than our relationship with Mexico. The interdependence of our societies and people are stronger than ever and continues to grow. Our domestic policies affect the lives and prosperity of Mexicans in the same way that the domestic policies of Mexico profoundly affect us. You need only to look at the scope and complexity of today's BNC agenda to understand how important Mexico and the U.S. are to each other. We will work to deepen and expand our partnership even further.
One of the most productive areas in which we must work closely together is on the trade between our nations, which has doubled in the past five years. That trade is vital to our economic future, to Mexico's economic future, and to our cooperation in every area. It is making both our economies grow. It is making us both more efficient and more competitive in the world market. And it adds to the resources we can use to address common concerns such as the environment.
That is why I am firmly committed to the NAFTA, and it's why I believe the American people and Congress will support the NAFTA this year.
We are the world's number one exporter; exports are creating more jobs than any other source in our economy today. American workers and companies want to compete fairly in the international market. They seek no special advantage -- only a level playing field.
Mexico has already made important strides in labor rights and in protecting the environment. When we conclude the side agreements, we will have an even broader basis for cooperation and progress.
By approving the NAFTA, we will cement in place a new source of jobs and economic growth for workers in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. And we will do more than that -- we will send a signal that the nations of the Americas are on their way to building a hemisphere of freer trade.
to continuing the positive, friendly relations between the U.S. and Mexico. I look forward to celebrating together with you the happy occasion of Congressional approval of the NAFTA before the end of this year.