Friday, March 5, 2010

Dzidzantún / U.S. - Mexican Relations

U.S. relations with Mexico are as important and complex as with any country in the world. U.S. relations with Mexico have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans--whether the issue is trade and economic reform, homeland security, drug control, migration, or the environment. The U.S. and Mexico are partners in NAFTA, and enjoy a broad and expanding trade relationship. Since the first North American Leaders’ Summit in 2005, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have been cooperating more closely on a trilateral basis to improve North American competitiveness, ensure the safety of our citizens, and promote clean energy and a healthy environment. The three nations also cooperate on hemispheric and global challenges, such as managing transborder infectious diseases and seeking greater integration to respond to challenges of transnational organized crime.

The scope of U.S.-Mexican relations goes far beyond diplomatic and official contacts; it entails extensive commercial, cultural, and educational ties, as demonstrated by the annual figure of about a million legal border crossings a day. In addition, a million American citizens live in Mexico. More than 18,000 companies with U.S. investment have operations there, and the U.S. accounts for 40% of all foreign direct investment in Mexico. Along the 2,000-mile shared border, state and local governments interact closely.

There has been frequent contact at the highest levels. Presidents' meetings have included a visit by President Calderon to Washington, DC to meet with then President-elect Barack Obama in January 2009, a visit by President Obama to Guadalajara in August 2009 for the North American Leaders’ Summit, and a visit by President Calderon to Pittsburg in September 2009 for a G-20 Summit.

A strong partnership with Mexico is critical to combating terrorism and controlling the flow of illicit drugs into the United States. In recent years, cooperation on counter-narcotics and Mexico's own initiatives in fighting drug trafficking have been unprecedented. At the August 2007 North American Leaders' Summit in Montebello, Canada, Presidents George W. Bush and Calderon announced the Merida Initiative to work together and with the countries of Central America to combat drug trafficking and organized crime in the region. In June 2008, President Bush signed the congressional appropriations bill allocating assistance to Mexico as part of the Merida Initiative. Appropriated funds for Mexico under the initiative totaled $1.35 billion as of December 2009.

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