Fighting for Florida
| Feb 28 2012
Today, I met with Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States. Mexico is not just our neighbor, but an important friend and ally in dealing with a wide range of bilateral and hemispheric issues. Today’s meeting was a good opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities we face. It was especially timely as Mexico moves closer to its next presidential election in which we look forward to seeing Mexico continuing on its democratic path.
Despite the serious security issues that too often overshadow many of the positive aspects of our bilateral relationship, Mexico remains a strong trade partner. Florida alone exported over $24 billion in goods to Mexico and other Latin American countries in 2010. It is important that we continue to have a robust commercial relationship with Mexico that ultimately gives our businesses in Florida opportunities to sell their goods and gives the Mexican people economic opportunities at home. As our economic relationship with Mexico is strengthened, so too are key foreign policy objectives advanced. This makes it especially critical that we continue working to deepen our ties through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In that vein, just last week Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Patricia Espinosa Cantellano signed an agreement to work together when drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Our agreement with Mexico ensures that we are safely exploring for energy in the Gulf of Mexico. As a Floridian, I know all too well what can happen when there are drilling accidents in the Gulf of Mexico. With a trustworthy, democratic partner like Mexico, I believe we can advance our energy agenda and safely meet the needs of our economies.
Of course, security issues are always on our minds not only as they relate to our own countries but also the entire hemisphere. We discussed the security situation in Mexico, and the role of our countries in effectively responding to the threat of Transnational Criminal Organizations and terrorist organizations in the Hemisphere. It’s in both of our nations’ best interests to consolidate and enhance our security and intelligence-sharing cooperation.
As the ranking member on the Senate’s Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Narcotics Affairs, I am looking forward to continue working with Ambassador Sarukhan and my Senate colleagues on a full agenda of collaborative efforts to meet the unique challenges our nations and Hemisphere face in the 21st Century.