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Remarks Following Discussions With President Miguel De la Madrid Hurtado of Mexico

August 13, 1986

President Reagan. President De la Madrid and I have just completed one of our most constructive and, I think, fruitful meetings. It was the fifth in a series which began in 1982 and demonstrated again that U.S.-Mexican relations are based on respect, understanding, open and frank discussion, and mutually beneficial cooperation.

The decline of oil prices and the burden of a debt incurred in past years have hit Mexico hard. President De la Madrid's administration and the people of Mexico are making a courageous, determined effort to face up to their nation's fundamental economic problems and turn a difficult situation around. In our meeting today I emphasized to President De la Madrid that the people and Government of the United States are ready to lend a hand when and where it can make a difference. The United States, for example, strongly endorses Mexico's recent agreements with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. We hope arrangements made with Mexico's private creditors move quickly so that Mexico can reignite economic growth, evolve toward a more efficient market-oriented system, continue to meet its debt obligations, and meet the economic needs of the Mexican people.

As I expressed to President De la Madrid today, the United States is prepared to do its part with commercial and agricultural credits; support for international financial institution programs in Mexico; and by maintaining our markets open to Mexican products, products Mexico must export if it is to prosper and meet its international financial obligations. Mexico's entry into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is also viewed here as a major step forward. This step comprises part of a strategy of economic restructuring which highlights productivity and the creation of a favorable business climate. Toward this end, President De la Madrid and I agreed to give priority to negotiations of a framework agreement on trade and investment and to have it done within a year.

Symbolic of our strengthening bonds, I am pleased to announce that the United States is lifting today our 6-year-old embargo on the importation of tuna from Mexico. Former Ambassador John Gavin, I should point out, was instrumental in achieving this breakthrough. And we're looking for further progress in our discussions on fisheries issues. One area of solid agreement was our recognition of the necessity of maintaining our countries' strong campaign against drugs. We pledged to bolster our eradication programs and our efforts to bring to justice vicious drug traffickers, who have been such a corrupting influence in both our countries. We also pledged to do all possible to attack the demand side of this evil by aggressively discouraging the consumption of narcotic drugs.

We can be proud of the broad range of cooperation developing between our countries, including border environmental policy, improved civil aviation arrangements, new bridges and border crossings, and our strong energy relations. We plan to strengthen our binational consultations at the Cabinet level to better meet the challenges and take advantage of opportunities for our two nations in the coming years.

What we have accomplished today builds upon the successes of the past and will benefit both our peoples. It was a pleasure to see my friend, President De la Madrid, again. As a good friend and neighbor, we wish you a safe journey home. Hasta luego and nos vemos.

President De la Madrid. Ladies and gentlemen, in the first place, I wish to express my appreciation to President of the United States Ronald Reagan for his cordial invitation to hold this meeting in Washington. It has been a timely and fruitful meeting. It has been a fruitful meeting because it has been positive results in allowing us to deal frankly and in depth with various problems that both Presidents consider to be of prime importance for the proper development of relations between the United States and Mexico.

President Reagan and I agreed to give priority attention to the topics included in the bilateral agenda. We are pleased to acknowledge that this year there have been positive developments and agreements in dealing with various economic matters and in border cooperation. We agreed that it is necessary and just to emphasize such progress. We have agreed that the Governments, beginning today, should make an extraordinary effort to strengthen and improve our relations. This is a necessary element in order to broaden and intensify the cooperation between the two peoples. It is with satisfaction that I have today confirmed the firm determination of President Reagan to give renewed impetus to the development of positive relations between the United States and Mexico. In this spirit, we have exchanged views on various issues of great interest to the two Governments and to both countries in general. Allow me to point out some of them briefly.

Firstly, we took up in detail different aspects of our financial and trade relations. The recent negotiations on the part of the Mexican Government with the international financial institutions, particularly the International Monetary Fund, have successfully opened the way to new and more realistic and flexible formulas for dealing with the problem of the foreign debt. I recognize that the Government of the United States, in playing a very constructive role, did a very fine thing, and this we greatly appreciate. It is our purpose that Mexico should attain a sufficient and sustained growth as a basis in order to restructure and renew its economy; in order to maintain the social progress that has been the basis for the long stability of our country; and in order to extend its capacity to comply with its international commitments.

The problem of the foreign debt is related with more finances in order to improve the conditions that will make it possible for us to comply with our foreign debt. Mexico seeks to create greater exportations in areas in which it has comparative advantages. Exports that are not oil problems, commercial links that will recognize the varying degrees of developments of both economies and that do not offer decrimination or absolute reciprocity, can be a good basis for the increase of our trade. Both Presidents have given instructions to their associates in order to undertake a broadened trade agreement on trade and on other subjects, and we have given definite instructions to our negotiators on both sides.

President Reagan and I also had the opportunity to exchange points of view on the problems of the undocumented workers in the United States. This is a problem that has to do with the structures of both economies. And there is no doubt that as the Mexican economy improves, the migrant flows will tend to decline.

I would also like to refer to a subject that President Reagan and I dealt with as a very important part of our conversations. And I am referring now to the war against drug trafficking. The Government of Mexico maintains that international cooperation is absolutely necessary in order to efficiently face drug trafficking. We agreed that it's necessary to simultaneously attack all the links of the chains; that is, production, distribution, and consumption. I have said to President Reagan that we believe that the campaign that, under his leadership, has been established in the United States is very important to combat the consumption and the distribution of drugs. We shall continue to strengthen the cooperation between both governments in order to combat this cancer of modern society. I believe, ladies and gentlemen, as has been said by President Reagan, this conversation has been particularly satisfactory. It is an additional proof of the firm and loyal friendship that unites our two peoples.

We have a great deal to benefit from a dignified, cordial relationship of mutually good for both. I thank President Reagan and the members of his party for the very warm hospitality that they have extended to us. And, once again, I would like to state the recognition of the Government and the people of Mexico for the assistance that was given to us by the United States during the earthquakes in the month of September, particularly the very warm friendship of Nancy Reagan who went to be with us during those painful times.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 1:45 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. President De la Madrid spoke in Spanish, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. Earlier, the two Presidents met privately in the Oval Office. Following their meeting, they had lunch in the Residence.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks Following Discussions With President Miguel De la Madrid Hurtado of Mexico Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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