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CEOs from U.S. and Mexico Discuss NAFTA Modernization, Announce Principles to Guide Bilateral Relationship
MEXICO CITY — Business leaders from the United States and Mexico gathered today in Mexico City for the 9th meeting of the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue. The business leaders’ discussion focused heavily on the ongoing negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the group agreed upon four principles to guide the future of the U.S.-Mexico relationship: do no harm; enhance competitiveness both nationally and regionally; increase adherence to the rule of law; and promote market fundamentals.
The U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue, a private-sector forum fostering conversation on key economic and trade issues that impact the bilateral relationship, is led on the U.S. side by Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Michael Ducker, president and CEO of FedEx Freight, who both serve as co-chairs.
In a speech to business leaders in Mexico City yesterday, Donohue stressed the importance of modernizing NAFTA and assured the Mexican private sector of the U.S. business community’s commitment to the bilateral relationship.
“Despite the very significant challenges we face, I think it’s more important than ever that the U.S. and Mexican business communities work together to advance our agenda for a stronger, more vibrant bilateral relationship,” said Donohue. “The bottom line is that we cannot let the highly charged debate over NAFTA jeopardize U.S. commercial engagement in Mexico, nor can we let it eclipse other areas of opportunity.”
Juan Pablo Castañón, chairman of Mexico’s Consejo Coordinador Empresarial (CCE), and Guillermo Vogel, director and vice chairman of the board of Tenaris, serve as co-chairs for the Mexican delegation of the Dialogue.
“We share the vision of free trade as an instrument to generate prosperity through investment, the creation of quality jobs and the economic growth of our two countries,” said Castañon. “And regardless of political circumstances, we celebrate that the business communities in the United States and Mexico maintain an agenda of priorities focused on increasing our global competitiveness.”
Over the course of the meeting, the participants finalized plans to advance priority bilateral policy initiatives in partnership with U.S. and Mexican government officials, including on topics like energy, financial services, trade facilitation, health, innovation, and agriculture.
“Five years ago, we launched this Dialogue in an effort to advance this vitally important economic relationship into the 21st century,” said Ducker. “Today, we are prepared to tackle together both the challenges and the opportunities we face, in order to ensure the continued strength of this partnership for years to come.”
The group underscored that the Dialogue will continue to serve as a leading platform for sharing and advancing the importance of the U.S.-Mexico economic relationship.
“The U.S.-Mexico relationship goes well beyond trade,” said Vogel. “The private sectors of both countries are completely aligned in considering that, isolated from each other, our countries will be in a weaker position to face competition coming from Asia and other regions of the world. In order to generate growth, employment and innovation, integration is essential in today’s global world.”
The U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue was created in 2013 by the U.S. Chamber and CCE to strengthen economic and commercial ties between the two countries. The group convenes U.S. and Mexican companies that are committing resources and investing in both markets to advocate for the bilateral trade and commercial relationship.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country- and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.