Two Presidents Talk One Big Trade Deal

Maria Medrano photo

Expanding trade and economic opportunities was a primary focus as President Obama met Thursday for several hours with Mexican President Peña Nieto.  At a joint news conference after their bilateral discussions, both presidents talked about the economic imperative of expanding trade not only between the two neighbors, but also with other regions of the world.

President Nieto highlighted an agreement to establish high-level talks that will include Vice-President Biden to deepen economic integration between the two economies.

President Peña Nieto:

 

One of the first agreements that we have made was to create a high-level dialogue that, within its framework, will foster trade and commerce with the United States.  This means that for the first time -- and probably this is unprecedented -- we will have the Mexican economic cabinet with their counterparts from various government agencies from the United States, as well as high-ranking officials.  And we've heard from the President that in this group, the Vice President of the United States will participate in order to set a dialogue that will result in arrangements in terms of how the government can support all the efforts made by the private sector in order to have stronger economic integration.

For this purpose, we have agreed that during the fall of this year, this high-level group will meet for the first time with the attendance of high-ranking officials to start working in the area of the economy.

 

President Obama said the two leaders focused on a top trade priority of the tech sector -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  Mexico and the United States are leading players in the 11-nation negotiations (which will grow to 12 once Japan’s request to join is accepted).

 

Together with Mexico, we’ll focus on increasing the connections between our businesses and workers, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and making our economies even more competitive.

To that end, we also reaffirmed our goal of concluding negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership this year.  This would be another major step in integrating our two economies and positioning us to compete in the fastest-growing markets in the world, those in the Asia-Pacific region.  We want to be able to sell more goods from Mexico and the United States.  And if we’re partnering together, we can do even better.

The fastest growing part of the world is the Asia-Pacific region -- huge markets.  And by us working closely together to upgrade and revamp our trade relationship we’re also in a position to project outward and start selling more goods and services around the world.  And that means more jobs and more businesses that are successful in Mexico and in the United States.

 

Both countries stand to gain substantially if the TPP can reach a strong conclusion, eliminating barriers to trade and investment.  For the U.S., for example, in 2012, total trade with TPP countries was more than $1.3 trillion in merchandise and more than $172 billion in services.  Those figures will expand with a successful TPP agreement.  And given that the other 10 nations currently involved in the talks have been growing rapidly during the past decade, we know the market opportunities for U.S. products and services will only continue to expand.

The next round of TPP negotiations is set for Lima, Peru, later this month.  We hope the diplomats will formally accept Japan to the talks, make significant progress, and move us ever closer to a final, bold agreement.

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