By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said during a visit to Mexico on Friday that he wants to deepen relations between the neighboring countries beyond drugs, security and immigration.
Launching the High Level Economic Dialogue to boost trade and investment ties, Biden urged the two countries to develop a stronger economic partnership that can move “more people, goods and information across our border.”
Biden was meeting Friday with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has been dealing with massive flooding in the southern state of Guerrero and street protests by teachers opposed to his education reforms.
Before meeting with Pena Nieto, Biden said the U.S. could provide assistance for storm recovery if Mexico wanted it. He said he was traveling next to see the flooding in Colorado.
The vice president also characterized Mexico’s reforms as “historic changes,” saying they would help the country “establish a new role in the 21st century.” In educational cooperation, Biden said the two countries have great opportunities for increased academic and student exchanges and joint research.
Referring to the recent marches by protesting teachers that have choked Mexico City streets, Biden quipped that he thought the masses had assembled to welcome him.
Biden spoke after meeting with Mexico’s secretaries of finance, foreign affairs, tourism, economy and education. He is traveling with the U.S. secretaries of commerce, homeland security and transportation and the U.S. trade representative.
President Barack Obama announced the bilateral economic dialogue in a visit to Mexico in May. According to the White House, the annual cabinet-level meetings are designed to promote mutual growth, job creation and economic competitiveness.