Sep 9, 2021
Kamala Harris Opening Speech Transcript: U.S. – Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue
VP Kamala Harris made opening remarks at the U.S. – Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue on September 9, 2021. Read the transcript of her speech here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Vice President Harris: (00:01)
Speaker 1: (00:03)
Good morning, buenos dias. Welcome, and thank you so, so much for joining us this morning. It is exciting for us to be here to kick off our inaugural high-level economic dialogue, and thank you for traveling to be here in person for this important meeting. I’d like to begin by turning it over to our vice president, Vice President Kamala Harris, who recently has been to Mexico, had a very productive trip, and we’re just thrilled that you could join us this morning.
Vice President Harris: (00:41)
Thank you, Madam Secretary. It is an honor to welcome our guests, our friends, our partners. It is good to see you again, Foreign Secretary Ebrard, Secretary of the Economy Clouthier, Ambassador Moctezuma. Thank you all for being here. We are very excited about this next stage of the relationship and the partnership between the United States and Mexico. This meeting and this convening of leaders of the United States with the leaders of Mexico is a follow-up to the extensive conversations I was pleased to have with President Lopez Obrador in Mexico City, and it is a follow-through in terms of the commitment that we have had for a long time, and that we will only strengthen through the dialogue today and what comes out of this dialogue in terms of the plans going forward.
Vice President Harris: (01:46)
So we welcome you, we warmly welcome you. When I visited Mexico in June, President Lopez Obrador and I discussed our shared commitment to renew the strong partnership between our nations, and we announced several of the agreements that came out of our meeting together, including this, our agreement to restart the United States-Mexico high-level economic dialogue. I want to thank those members of our administration who worked to put that agreement into action, including our co-chairs Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and Ambassador Katherine Tai. I also would like to welcome Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Administrator Samantha Power, and our new ambassador to Mexico and a longstanding leader in the United States, Ken Salazar. This dialogue was last convened in 2016, and so much has happened, so much has changed, so many challenges have been presented, and yes, also opportunities in the intervening years. Since then, a global pandemic has undermined the stability of our global economy, supply chains have been disrupted, and threats from climate change to cyber attacks have threatened our security, both in terms of our national security and our economic security.
Vice President Harris: (03:27)
We know that our world is also more interconnected and more interdependent than ever before. Again, highlighting the importance of the partnership and the relationship between the United States and Mexico. Mexico is our closest neighbor, Canada as well, and a strategic partner, and one of our most important economic relationships. Mexico’s economic stability is in the interest of the United States. We talked about this in Mexico City. 18 states in the United States count Mexico as their top one or second, first or second export destination. $1 billion crosses our shared border every day in goods. All of that making clear that this high-level economic dialogue is an opportunity to deepen our ties and advance our collective goals. Together, we will strengthen supply chain resilience. Together, we will modernize our hemisphere’s infrastructure through the plan the president has outlined in partnership and cooperation with our friends, Build Back Better World.
Vice President Harris: (04:50)
We will together create an environment to attract investment and business growth, and at the same time, keep an eye on what we must do to root out corruption. We will invest in an inclusive and green development capacity, and we will create jobs for the people of Southern Mexico and Central America. And President Lopez Obrador and I and the secretary had extensive conversations about our mutual commitment to addressing the root causes of migration. And together, doing all of this work, we will ensure that women and children benefit from this growth and prosperity. Following this dialogue, I am confident that our nations will continue to work together, that our companies will continue to create jobs together, and that our people will enjoy greater prosperity and a greater quality of life. Together, the United States and Mexico will set an example for what is possible in the Western hemisphere. So with that, again, I welcome you on behalf of the president and all of us, and I will now pass the mic to secretary Ebrard. Again, it’s good to see you again. Thank you.
Secretary Ebrard: (06:17)
Thank you, Vice President Harris. A pleasure to see you and all the US government delegation here. Good morning, everyone on the Mexican side, the [inaudible 00:06:32] minister, and also the treasury ministers are at this table, the Mexican ambassador in Washington. Well, on behalf of the President Lopez Obrador, I will say that thank you very much for this occasion. Thank you very much, because we are going to build a new vision about North America, North American countries, North American economy, North America region. This dialogue is not about the problem that we face every day. We have a framework about a lot of things in a very complex relationship. This dialogue is about vision on the future, the common vision about the region, and initiatives that we can take in the short term in order to build the future, the future we start today. So we are going to really put all our efforts and commitment to fulfill our goals, the shared goals that we are going to discuss in the next hour.
Secretary Ebrard: (07:40)
There are a lot of things to share with you, with your team about the economy, the supply chains. How are we going to face this situation that the pandemic show to us? We are not well-prepared in order to face in the future other crisis like the pandemic, COVID-19. We can do a lot of things together in pharmaceuticals and medical equipments, semiconductors, mobility for solar or clean energy mobility in the region. And also, to share with you a letter and proposal from the president of Mexico about Central America and South of Mexico in order to include all of these regions, important ones in the future of North America region as a economic very important region of the world.
Secretary Ebrard: (08:47)
So really, thank you for your personal commitment, Vice President Harris. Thank you for your in order to fulfill this dialogue, to start this dialogue. And from the Mexican point of view, this is going to be another stage, another time in our relationship, because we share a lot of things, but we need to put our work very [inaudible 00:09:16] in the short term to fulfill our goals, our vision. So thank you very much, again, and the best regards from President Lopez Obrador.
Vice President Harris: (09:26)
Thank you. And again, on behalf of President Biden and all of us, welcome.