Today, President Enrique Peña Nieto starts a two-day tour of California with three critical objectives: to hold his first meeting with the Mexican community in the United States, follow up on the agreements reached with Gov. Jerry Brown during the latter's visit to Mexico last July, and strengthen links with California in all areas.
More than 33 million people of Mexican origin currently live in the United States, 11 million of whom were born in Mexico. California is the state with the highest number of people of Mexican origin, a number that surpassed 12 million last year. For these reasons, during his meeting, the president will emphasize the importance of the Mexican community’s contributions to the economic, social and cultural development of the United States, and in particular California. He will confirm Mexico's commitment by contributing to the discussion in favor of a comprehensive immigration reform that puts the migrant, as a person with rights and as a key agent in development, at the center.
Mexico has 50 consulates in the United States, the largest consular network that any one country has with another, and we have 10 in California alone that provide care, support and consular protection to our citizens. The president will announce new initiatives that will enable the consulates to provide a more efficient level of care, thereby more clearly contributing to the promotion of the Mexican citizen’s interests and respect for his or her rights.
The state of California is the second most important trading partner of Mexico in the United States. In 2013, commercial trade was $60 billion, almost the equivalent of trade between Mexico and the entire European Union. We also share a border of more than 230 kilometers — about 143 miles — along which the Tijuana-San Ysidro port of entry is located — the world’s busiest, with 30 million crossings each year.
During Gov. Brown’s visit to Mexico, agreements on various issues were signed. These included the construction and modernization of binational infrastructure, the promotion of educational exchanges, environmental, ecological and clean energy collaboration, and the facilitation of bilateral trade. On this occasion, accompanied by various secretaries of state, President Nieto will reaffirm his commitment to the implementation of each one of these agreements in order to generate long-term and tangible benefits for our societies on both sides of the border.
We have already started seeing the first results of these agreements. In Mexico and California, we are working on the expansion of border infrastructure in order to strengthen the prosperity of the California-Baja California region and its communities. In terms of clean energies, we are strengthening collaboration between Californian and Mexican parties in relation to the issues of energy efficiency, renewable energy and power generation. We are also working to identify key emerging sectors that promote trade and regional development.
Finally, to the political leaders, businesses and Mexican community of California, President Peña Nieto will emphasize 11 structural reforms passed in the last 20 months that will transform Mexico. Their implementation will guarantee the economic development of our country and strengthen the democratic rule and freedom of all Mexican people. By creating greater certainty, we will also manage to strengthen and deepen our historical, economic and cultural ties with California and Californians.
In May of last year, Presidents Peña Nieto and Obama agreed to make North America the most dynamic and competitive region. They agreed to work together to promote a modern, efficient and safe border, focus the education efforts of both countries on research and innovation, and coordinate strategies of entrepreneurship and economic development from a holistic perspective. There is no doubt that the issues Mexico and California have on the agenda will contribute decisively to achieving these objectives.