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Remarks of United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk at the Anzaldúas Bridge Opening Ceremony
January 11, 2010
Anzaldúas Bridge Opening Ceremony
*As Prepared for Delivery*
"Thank you to President Calderón, to Congressmen Hinojosa and Cuellar for their support of this project, and to all of the local and national leaders here from both sides of the border. It is an honor to join you in this celebration.
President Obama asked me to be here to mark this occasion as a representative of his Administration. In that capacity, I am pleased to witness the inauguration of the Anzaldúas bridge. And as United States Trade Representative, I am proud of the potential this bridge represents.
This bridge is a link between Mexico and America, between north and south. It is also a potent symbol of our connectedness. This bridge says, we are neighbors. It says, we welcome our neighbors. We welcome new cross-cultural understanding and new cross-border trade between our two countries.
In fact, this bridge represents the most fundamental kind of trade: people-to-people transactions. I'm talking about Mexican and American families crossing the river to shop, to visit, to provide a service, or to get a meal - to literally get a taste of the other side. These are the daily transactions that tie us together.
This project started as a local concept and it has been driven to completion by local leaders. You had a vision and you made that vision a reality. You knew that a new crossing would bring benefits to this entire region, and those benefits start today. As you work to increase the flow of traffic across this bridge, to generate more commerce and more connections, you will have the full support of this Administration.
As a native Texan and former Dallas mayor, I know that while cross-border commerce is most visible here at the border, the impact of that commerce extends far beyond border communities. Many of the men and women that cross this bridge going north will head right up the highway to Dallas or other destinations. The same is true for south-bound travelers. Their first stops may be Reynosa and then Monterrey, but their impact will be felt all across Mexico.
Sometimes, people forget just how important U.S.-Mexico trade is to both our economies.
Cross-border trade totals more than $1 billion dollars every day. Mexico is the number one trading partner for twenty-two American states.
That trade makes us all stronger. Countless men and women in both our countries owe their jobs to customers on the other side of the border. And every investment we make to grow our trade is an investment in those jobs.
This bridge is just such an investment. It is an accomplishment for both our nations, and it is indicative of closer U.S.-Mexico relations and a strong strategic partnership.
Our two nations stand together. Whether you're talking about the effort to rebuild jobs and prosperity through trade, the fight against transnational crime - which border towns and cities know better than anyone - or the fight for a cleaner environment - this bridge was, in fact, built with recycled, reused, and locally-sourced materials - we are working together.
Congratulations to all of you here who helped to bring this bridge into being, and thank you all."