Public Papers - 1992
Statement on Meeting With President Carlos Salinas of Mexico
President Salinas and I had an extremely constructive discussion of the status of negotiations among our two countries and Canada to create a North American free trade area (NAFTA). We reaffirmed our commitment to reaching a sound NAFTA agreement as soon as possible. Let me just say a word about the importance of this historic undertaking.
We live in a global economy. The fastest growing sector of the American economy today is our export sector, and Mexico is the fastest growing market for U.S. exports in the world. U.S. merchandise exports to Mexico have increased 22 percent per year for each of the last 5 years, twice as fast as U.S. exports worldwide. Having added over 300,000 new jobs to our economy since 1986, we now have over 600,000 total U.S. jobs built on our exports to Mexico. California alone exported .5 billion in goods and services to Mexico last year. Virtually every State has shared in that growth, not just States on the border. Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania are among the top 10 exporters to Mexico along with California, Texas, and Arizona.
By building together the largest free trading region in the world, Mexico, the United States, and Canada are working to ensure that the future will bring increased prosperity, trade, and new jobs for the citizens of each of our countries. Because our trade ministers and their teams have made impressive progress in recent weeks, we agreed that our meeting today marks the beginning of the final stage of negotiations. In the spirit of this evening's All-Star Game, we are entering the top of the ninth inning of negotiations. President Salinas and I have instructed our trade ministers to meet on July 25 to bring this final stage of negotiations to an early and successful conclusion. We have consulted with Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney, and he has similarly instructed his trade minister.
We also agreed on the importance of pressing ahead with parallel efforts to assure that the NAFTA enhances environmental quality and that labor issues are addressed effectively.