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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Meets with Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina

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AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Thursday, February 6, 2014
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Remarks at Meeting with Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and the U.S. business delegation met with Nuevo Leon Governor Rodrigo Medina and his cabinet to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues in the U.S.- Mexico relationship. 

During the meeting, Secretary Pritzker emphasized the importance of including Monterrey in her first trade mission to Mexico, recognizing that Governor Medina has helped create a favorable investment environment for the state of Nuevo Leon. In fact, 2,600 foreign companies operate in Monterrey, and 1,600 of them are American. There is clear potential to build new partnerships that strengthen the already-deep commercial ties between the United States and Mexico and to make the North American platform the most competitive in the world. 

Secretary Pritzker is in Mexico this week for a five-day business development mission, focusing on promoting U.S. exports to Mexico and further strengthening the U.S.-Mexico commercial relationship. She is joined by representatives from 17 U.S. companies looking to expand partnerships and develop effective strategies for accessing and doing business in the Mexican market.  

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It's a pleasure to be here with Governor Medina, and I want to thank him for so graciously hosting our business delegation today. 

I am here in Monterrey with 17 U.S. businesses on my first international trade mission as U.S. Secretary of Commerce. 

These companies are excited about the opportunities to do business here in Mexico, and recognize the incredible potential that exists in Monterrey, in particular. 

As the Governor knows, Nuevo León has long been an economic powerhouse. While the state represents just 4 percent of Mexico's population, it accounts for about 8 percent of Mexico's GDP, 11 percent of its manufacturing, and 12 percent of its exports (80 percent of which are to U.S. service industries). 

In addition, the state of Nuevo León graduates, on average, 5,000 engineers a year. 

And, you have successfully created an environment that is very favorable for investment. 

In fact, in 2012 and 2013, Nuevo León set records for attracting foreign direct investment. In 2013, FDI in the state was over $3.6 billion. About 50 percent of the U.S. companies investing in Nuevo León are actually expanding their commitment to the area. 

As someone who spent 27 years in business, U.S. companies' commitment to Nuevo León speaks volumes to me. It tells me that in addition to having a strong and vibrant economy, you have laid out the Welcome mat for companies doing business in your community. 

Right now, 2,600 foreign companies are operating in Monterrey, and 1,600 of those are American. Each year, American investment makes up about half of all FDI in Nuevo León. 

And today, our businesses are joining me in Monterrey because they recognize the opportunities that exist in this market. For decades, U.S. companies have successfully invested in Mexico. Now, with your government's commitment to reforms in areas like telecommunications and energy, there is clear potential to build new partnerships that strengthen the already-deep commercial ties between our two countries. 

Over the past 20 years, NAFTA has created benefits for our businesses and our people. The U.S.-Mexican economic relationship has become one of the most fruitful in the world – defined by openness, cooperation, and collaboration -- but I am convinced we can do even more. 

Mexico is our third largest trading partner, and approximately 1.3 billion of merchandise trade and one million people cross our border daily. 

Two-way trade between the U.S. and Mexico now stands at half-a-trillion dollars annually. 

We have deeply integrated supply chains, ease of access due to shared borders, and an established free trade agreement that makes it easy for the U.S. and Mexico to do business with one another. 

Altogether, millions of citizens in our countries have good jobs because of our strong trade and investment ties. 

In short, we trade with each other more than ever before. We invest in each other more than ever before. And we produce together more than ever before. 

But NAFTA was not perfect, and we have an opportunity to upgrade a groundbreaking -- but two-decade-old -- agreement. The U.S. and Mexico are currently working together to build on our strong foundation through the Trans Pacific Partnership. The TPP will be a high-standard agreement that reflects our common values and brings further benefits to all of our economies and people. 

All of these factors made my decision to come here for my first trade mission an easy one. Where better to go than to our close friend and neighbor – Mexico? 

Governor, once again, I want to thank you and your team for welcoming me, our 17 companies -- and ALL American businesses --  to Nuevo León. I look forward working with you as we further strengthen the relationships that exist between our leaders and our businesses, enhance our trade and investment ties, and make the North American platform the most competitive in the world. Thank you.