Public Papers - 1990
Toast at the State Luncheon Hosted by President Carlos Salinas de Gortari in Monterrey, Mexico
President Salinas, if I may, I want to thank you for your hospitality and friendship, and your counsel and your commitment to a stronger relationship between our two countries.
For both President Salinas and I, home is no more than 200 miles from our common border. He referred to this. We both grew up in families with a heritage of public service, and we were inaugurated at the same time in history. When we first met in Houston in 1988, neither of us had yet assumed office, but both were fully aware of the challenges facing us in the relationships between our nations.
No country is more important to the United States than Mexico is. The United States bears the imprint of your culture. Your nation is our third largest trading partner. Twelve million Americans -- twelve million -- call Mexico their cultural homeland. We've faced many challenges together, whether it's the conflict of Central America or the drug lords in the Andes.
In our Houston meeting and in our many meetings since then, you've always brought Mexico's perspective into positive focus, pointing the way to the kind of communication and cooperation that has benefited us both so much. And now we're on the verge of negotiating an historic free-trade agreement, the symbol of how far our two countries have come in learning to understand, respect, and work with one another. This agreement will unleash powerful energies in both economies. Countless new ventures will emerge. More jobs, higher standards of living, and greater productivity will make us both more competitive in the global arena.
As you said in your State of the Union Message, ``We want to harness the new winds of change that are blowing beyond our borders.'' And without ignoring risks, you celebrated new freedoms, and you saw fresh hope.
Mr. President, as I leave Monterrey, my views are reinforced. I share your views enthusiastically. We're not on an easy path, but I firmly believe we are on the right one. And I sincerely hope that our two nations share the same path of freedom and opportunity for years to come.
And so, in the spirit of Houston and Monterrey, I raise my glass to a great leader and a great nation, a man who has raised Mexican-U.S. relations to a new level, to President Carlos Salinas de Gortari and to Mexico.
God bless you all, and thank you for a wonderful visit.
Note: The President spoke at 1:08 p.m. in the courtyard of the Governor's Palace. Following the luncheon, he participated in a departure ceremony at General Mariano Escobedo International Airport and returned to Washington, DC. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.