U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is urging the United States and Mexico to develop a stronger economic partnership, saying it is the most important part of the relationship between the two countries.
Biden told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Friday there should be a greater flow across the border of "people, goods and information."
Biden traveled Friday to Mexico City to launch the High-Level Economic Dialogue established between the two nations during President Barack Obama's visit to Mexico in May.
"Mr. President, you and I have continued our conversation on security," said Biden. "We also agreed that no part of a relationship is more important than expanding economic opportunity, to improve the lives of our citizens. That's why I came to Mexico today to launch the first ever U.S.-Mexican High Level Economic Dialogue.''
Peña Nieto said the economic initiative is a joint commitment by both countries to bring greater prosperity to North America. "Vice President Biden's visit to Mexico reaffirms this shared vision by both governments. The interest that both governments insist through our relations that the North American region be stronger, more solid, more consolidated, and that it really is pivotal for the global development in the 21st century.''
Two-way trade between the United States and its southern neighbor is now up to nearly $500 billion a year, making Mexico the U.S.'s third largest trading partner.
The vice president's talks with the Mexican president were expected to address other common interests as well, including cooperation on education, research and security. But both Mexican and U.S. officials indicated Mexico's concerns about U.S. cyber-spying would not be part of the agenda.
Officials from Mexico, Brazil and other Latin American nations expressed anger after documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed the U.S. National Security Agency had been spying on communications in their countries.
The Mexican president discussed the NSA disclosures issue with Obama at the G20 summit in Russia earlier this month, and Obama administration officials say it is something the U.S. and Mexico are continuing to work through.
In addition to visiting Mexico, Biden had planned to travel to Panama earlier this week, but that trip was postponed so he could stay in Washington to work on Syria.