awards

President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico
September 23, 2014
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

Upon receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990, Mexican writer Octavio Paz noted that “all of our […] actions, all that we do and dream, are bridges to break gaps and unite us to the world and to other fellow human beings”.
These words remind us that humanity’s strength lies in its unity, in the bonds that are created among human beings and among nations.
I therefore celebrate our meeting tonight with religious and corporate leaders committed to universal principles such as human rights, peace among all peoples, tolerance, and camaraderie.
Just as in Octavio Paz’s remarks, you are the men and women who build bridges of understanding and integration among peoples and individuals. I take this opportunity to express my acknowledgment to all the members of this Foundation. I thank you for the honor that you have graciously bestowed upon me. I accept it on behalf of my entire country, Mexico, because the very achievements that you have recognized tonight are NOT the work of only one man, not even of one government; they are the achievements of an entire nation. I have the good fortune and responsibility of leading the efforts of a dynamic, democratic society, increasingly active and proactive, and willing to change. My country had been unable to take advantage of its great strengths for decades.
In fact, Mexico is one of the few true bio-diverse countries; 10% of our planet’s species are found there.
Our population is the world’s 11th largest and 50% of it is younger than 27 years Mexico is a stable democracy, which for eight decades has experienced peaceful and orderly transitions of governments in 6-year intervals.

We are a country that embraces solidarity and fraternity with the whole world. In several moments in history we opened our doors and offered shelter to those persecuted or expelled from their countries; to individuals and communities in search of a better future.
Today, we are the fourth largest economy in our continent and the 14th largest in the world.
We have an extensive network of Free Trade Agreements with 45 countries, a potential market of over 1.1 billion people. We are the third leading trading partner of the United States, only after Canada and China, with an exchange of goods and services that surpasses $507 billion per year, or a million dollars per minute.
In 2013, México purchased $226 billion from the United States, more than all the BRIC countries -Brazil, Russia, India and China- combined.
In addition, Mexico is a leader in the manufacturing of advanced technology. We are also the number one exporter of flat screens and refrigerators; the number four exporter of computers; and the number six aerospace provider to the United States.
Recent second-quarter accumulated data in the auto industry places Mexico as the world’s seventh producer and fourth largest exporter of vehicles.
But even with these strengths, Mexico has had more than three decades of low economic growth, barely 2.6% per year on average during the past 30 years.

Therefore, when I assumed the great responsibility of becoming President of the Republic, in my first Address to the Nation, I pointed out that the time had come for a profound transformation, so that Mexico could start a new era of growth and development.
We knew that the road would NOT be easy, that we would need to overcome resistance to change and the special interests of different groups.
However, we also knew we had many factors in favor of change: an active citizenry, democratic institutions and political powers with the necessary maturity and civility to reach consensus and build agreements.
Under these conditions, on the second day of my Administration, the main political parties and the Government signed the Pact for Mexico (Pacto por México). This unprecedented agreement captured essential commitments to launch, together, a wide-ranging agenda of reforms in different areas of our nation’s daily life.
Through this innovative political instrument it was possible to propose several structural reform initiatives to Congress. Each reform was specifically designed to eliminate obstacles that had limited the country’s economic growth and social development.
All of the reforms were enriched with the vision and experience of experts, academics, opinion leaders and common citizens, and, most notably, legislators.
As a result, a dialogue among political stakeholders was established, which allowed us to reach consensus and the needed majority to approve each reform.
This exercise, which might seem easy, represented a paradigmatic shift for our country because since 1997 no political party has had the majority needed in the Legislative Branch to push reforms on its own.

I have expressed my utmost respect and recognition to all legislators, regardless of how they voted, because by engaging and enriching the process, they demonstrated that Mexico’s democracy has the institutional strength to achieve transformational reforms in favor of its people.
Thanks to the support of political parties – from the right, center, and left – and to their legislators, in 20 months we materialized 11 reforms.
These reforms are the foundation upon which we will continue building a more modern and more competitive Mexico.
With these reforms, Mexicans have dared to change the quality of education, to make our labor market more flexible, as well as to combat monopolies and non-competitive practices.
We had the courage to modernize the telecommunications sector, expand available credit and reduce its cost, strengthen public finances, and jumpstart a new model of energy development in and for the country.
Through dialogue, the Mexican people agreed to renew our political and electoral institutions, as well as our justice and transparency systems. We, the people of Mexico, decided to change.

LADIES AND GENTLEMAN:
We are now focused on implementing each and every one of these reforms, so that their benefits can reach all homes and businesses in the country.
Each reform has an implementation plan with a timetable of specific actions.

The positive outcomes from these transformational changes are being recognized by experts in several fields. The main credit rating agencies have already upgraded Mexico’s sovereign debt rating, which, as you know, helps reduce financing costs in international markets.
The world has a renewed confidence in Mexico because it sees that our country is moving forward and in the right direction.
The transformation of our legal and institutional frameworks is enhanced by the simultaneous transformation of our physical infrastructure.
This Administration will build over 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers) of highways and is also developing projects to duplicate the capacity of our ports.

We are also giving a renewed push to modernizing the country’s passenger trains, including the development of the first high-speed railway in the American continent, which will connect our capital with one of the nation’s main centers of innovation.

Moreover, we recently announced the construction of a new International Airport in Mexico City, which, when finalized, will accommodate 120 million passengers per year through its 6 runways.
These numbers are twice the volume of operations in Hong Kong or Dallas airports.

With cutting-edge infrastructure projects such as these, we will benefit better from our privileged geographic position and will secure Mexico as a platform from where international companies can operate globally.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Throughout its history, Mexico has faced and conquered many challenges, thanks to the integrity, hard work and unity of its people.
We are now working together, NOT to respond to a crisis or an emergency, but to push for substantive and long-term change. In conclusion, Mexico is a country that has dared to change, that is steadily moving forward towards greater inclusion and prosperity.
Working resolutely and with a clear path, Mexicans now look at the future with optimism.
We are working to make our country a place of opportunities and personal fulfillment for all of our people.
We want Mexico to be a nation of tolerance and harmony, a nation in which all Mexicans can fully enjoy their Human Rights, make their dreams come true and be happy.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
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