Viewpoints: Mexico’s reforms will strengthen ties with California

I am delighted to visit California, a vibrant and dynamic state, home to almost 12 million people of Mexican origin who daily contribute to its prosperity. I met Monday with Mexican and Mexican American workers, entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders and dreamers in Los Angeles. Tuesday, I will be in Sacramento to address a joint session of the Legislature.

This presidential visit reaffirms my administration’s commitment to Mexico’s migrant community. We recognize its role as important agents of social, political, economic and cultural change and development. We also welcome California’s leadership in approving legislation that protects and advances immigrants’ rights in the state and promotes their integration into its social fabric.

For this reason, I look forward to fostering greater cooperation and collaboration with California. Mexico and California not only share a 145-mile-long border and the busiest land crossing in the world, but also profound historical, cultural, economic and social ties. In fact, we have been working together to achieve better social and economic conditions for our people on both sides of the border.

Currently, Mexico is undergoing a major transformation to become a more modern and competitive economy. After 20 months of democratic negotiations among all major political parties, my country’s most important reform process culminated with radical changes in areas such as education, telecommunications, economic competition, finance, the tax system, justice, politics and energy. These reforms also bring benefits to Mexican immigrants in the U.S.; for instance, the political reform strengthens the mechanisms to vote from outside Mexico.

To fulfill the potential of California and Mexico’s trans-border initiatives, Mexico is also becoming an even more attractive commercial partner with more open and competitive industries, highly qualified human capital and a strengthened democracy. My country offers new investment and collaboration opportunities in areas such as education, energy and trade. For the first time in decades, both local and foreign private companies will be allowed to participate in Mexico’s promising energy industry, resulting in more investment and better employment opportunities. At the same time, there will be favorable conditions to explore Mexico’s vast sources of renewable energy. I am confident that the approved reforms will have a profound positive impact on our relationship.

Mexico and California are already strong commercial partners: In 2013, Mexican trade with California reached $60 billion. My country is a top destination for California’s exports. Close to 700,000 jobs in the Golden State depend on that trade, and there is still a great potential to increase it.

California and Mexico are working to build a more competitive, prosperous and secure border region. Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown visited Mexico to discuss how to deepen our cooperation in key areas and how to improve the living conditions of the immigrant community.

Multiple agreements were reached in areas such as higher education, bi-national infrastructure, commerce, tourism, environment and climate change. So far this year, Mexico’s foreign minister has visited California three times to promote trade, collaboration, prosperity and a more attractive North American region. These are clear examples of an agenda based on mutual understanding and cooperation.

This agenda is also framed by commitments that President Barack Obama and I made during his visit to Mexico in May 2013. Various mechanisms of cooperation were created at the national level. For instance, the High Level Economic Dialogue, as well as the Mexico-U.S. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council, will further develop our commercial ties. In addition, the Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation and Research will promote research and educational collaboration.

California and Mexico’s shared interests, hopes and dreams are guiding us, with a sense of urgency and great pragmatism, on a path of increased trust in the North American region.

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