U.S. and Mexican officials met in Washington Friday to discuss a variety of shared issues including trade, economic growth and border security as part of the third U.S.-Mexico high-level economic dialogue.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with the Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai co-hosted meetings with their Mexican counterparts at the U.S. State Department headquarters.
Next week, Blinken, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, and other U.S. officials will travel to Mexico to continue the high-level security dialogue. The state department describes the two meetings as "the scaffolding" for the economic and security cooperation between the two nations.
At a joint news conference following their talks, Blinken and his Mexican counterpart, Foreign Secretary Alicia Barcena, both said the two countries share the objective of making North America the most dynamic, competitive, and prosperous economic region in the world.
Mexico has become the top U.S. trading partner, last year exchanging more than $860 billion in goods and services, an all-time high.
In their comments, both Blinken and Barcena said they discussed how that prosperity can be shared through social economic growth and development in other areas of the Americas, to address some of the root causes of irregular migration in the region.
"When people can make a living, when they have confidence in their economic security ... when they can build a future at home, that's where they'll stay," said Blinken.
Both Blinken and Barcena said the meeting included the development of a very clear strategy to attract new investment that could make the region one of the most powerful producers of conductors and semi-conductors in the world, along with other emerging technologies.
Strengthening border infrastructure and coordination was also a key topic at their meeting, which is as much an economic issue as it is a security issue. Blinken said coordination at the border can streamline wait times to allow people and goods to cross legally, while strengthening the capacity to deal with drug trafficking.
Looking ahead to next week's meeting in Mexico City, the U.S. secretary of state said addressing the illegal drug trade will be a top priority, as fentanyl and other synthetic drugs have become the number one killer of U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 49.
He also noted that the U.S. must take responsibility for guns heading into Mexico, arming drug cartels. Mexican officials say some 200,000 guns come into Mexico from the U.S. each year.