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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 25, 1999
                             May 25, 1999 

The Challenge

Today, the President and Vice President launched a Southwest Border Economic Development Initiative to address the unique shared challenges facing the communities along the Mexican border by strengthening community efforts to generate sustained development and lasting prosperity.

Increased interaction with our Mexican neighbors along the border is generating economic development opportunities and challenges that put a heightened premium on federal coordination and cooperation with state and local organization as well as binational cooperation. Coordination is critical among the new institutions created to address environmental, worker dislocation, and economic development challenges:

The region's unique challenges reflect economic disparities along our 2000-mile border with Mexico.

Interagency Task Force on the Economic Development of the Southwest Border

President Clinton is taking executive action to establish an Interagency Task Force on the Economic Development of the Southwest Border. The mission is to coordinate and better leverage federal economic development and other services for the Southwest Border in close concert with locally led efforts. The goal is to raise the living standards and overall economic profile of the Southwest Border on a sustained basis.

Rapid Response Pilots

As part of its initial implementation efforts, the Task Force will establish demonstration projects aimed at creating an integrated, rapid response capability targeted to the priority needs identified by pilot communities in their economic development plans.