Bush and Fox Meet at UT Dallas
Presidential candidate and Texas governor George W. Bush met with President-elect of Mexico Vicente Fox to discuss future relationships between the United States and Mexico. The discussion focused on problems involving the U.S./ Mexico border and on NAFTA.
At a press conference held at The University of Texas at Dallas, Vicente Fox declared that “the 21st century should be the century of Mexico [and] Latin America and certainly we can say that it is the century of NAFTA. NAFTA has been good to us but we know it can be much better and that we can build on the future together”. Fox believes that within the next 20 to 30 years, Mexico will have narrowed the gap of development and income level between itself and the other North American countries, making Mexico “a much better friend, neighbor and partner” to the U.S. and Canada.
During his four-day tour through Canada and the United States, Fox made proposals for the eventual free movement of goods and people across the U.S./ Mexico border that were at best met with tentative praise. At the UTD press conference, Governor Bush reiterated his intention to enforce the border; however he intended to do so “in a humane way”.
Both president-elect Fox and Governor Bush agreed that the primary concern right now was for closing the wage gap between Mexican and U.S. workers. Mexican workers currently flow into the United States by the thousands searching for work to support their families. “Family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River,” Bush stated. “People come to Texas or America because it is much easier to make a living here than at home. People have got mouths to feed. Moms and dads are coming to feed their children.” By narrowing the wage disparity, Mexican workers will be more likely to stay in Mexico which, in turn, would help revitalize the Mexican economy. Fox hopes that once the wage gap has been reduced, the North American countries can work together more effectively to deal with such issues as organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Before leaving the press conference, Bush said that “You’ve got to grow your way out of poverty” and that he looked forward to working with Fox on the issues raised during the president-elect’s visit. “There will be a lot of issues, but the most important signal will be when a newly elected President visits with a newly elected president of Mexico – that this relationship. . . is of most importance. And I want to send that signal loud and clear.”
Vicente Fox is scheduled to officially take office December 1, 2000, effectively ending 71 years of virtual one-party rule by the PRI.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].