WESLACO, RGV – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has co-sponsored a resolution emphasizing the importance of U.S.-Mexico relations.

The resolution reaffirms the strategic partnership between the United States and Mexico, and recognizes bilateral cooperation that advances the national security and national interests of both countries.

Other sponsors include U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, Marco Rubio, R-Florida, John McCain, R-Arizona, Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey and Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Cornyn said it is important to formally recognize the bilateral cooperation necessary to advance both countries’ shared interests in national security, defense, and trade.

“Today I joined Senators Cardin and Rubio to introduce a bipartisan resolution reaffirming our partnership between the United States and Mexico. The resolution specifically recognizes our shared cultural and economic ties and highlights our many areas of cooperation, including efforts by the current Mexican administration of Peña Nieto to reduce the illegal flow of drugs and people across our common border,” Cornyn said.

“Since the creation of NAFTA our agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have almost quadrupled. As the top exporting state in the country, Texas has particularly benefited from our strong economic relationship and we need to do everything we can to nurture it and build on it.”

Here is the Resolution:

Whereas the people of United States and Mexico enjoy shared cultural and economic ties and both nations share common values based on the desire to achieve peace, security, and prosperity in their respective countries;

Whereas the Governments of the United States and Mexico engage in bilateral cooperation on a broad range of issues that directly benefits each country’s national security and national interests;

Whereas the United States and Mexico enjoy close diplomatic cooperation and Mexico has consistently voted with the United States at the United Nations on challenges related to Syria, North Korea, and Ukraine, as well as at the Organization of American States on issues related to Venezuela;

Whereas Mexico is an important security and defense partner to the United States, and regularly participates in training activities in coordination with United States Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD);

Whereas consecutive United States and Mexican administrations have increased bilateral defense and law enforcement cooperation on counterterrorism and counternarcotics issues, including the illicit trafficking of weapons, money, people, and drugs across the United States Southern Border;

Whereas the Government of Mexico has utilized its military and Federal Police to combat the transnational criminal organizations that have waged campaigns of ruthless violence against the Mexican people and trafficked an immeasurable quantity of illegal drugs into the United States that have taken the lives of far too many Americans;

Whereas the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto has extradited more than 270 individuals facing criminal charges to the United States, including Joaquin ‘‘El Chapo’’ Guzman on January 19, 2017;

Whereas the Government of Mexico has initiated an effort to reduce the growing domestic production of heroin through the eradication of poppy and destruction of labs used to make heroin;

Whereas Mexico has sought to improve anti-corruption efforts at the local, State, and Federal level by adopting a national anticorruption system and starting a transition from a presidentially appointed attorney general’s office to a more independent prosecutor general’s office selected by the Mexican Senate;

Whereas, through the Merida Initiative, which was launched in 2008, the Governments of the United States and Mexico have collaborated to combat organized crime, strengthen the rule of law, advance judicial reform, and address challenges to human rights in Mexico, including the involvement of security forces in extrajudicial killings of civilians, the disappearances of more than 23,000 individuals, and the unresolved forced disappearance of 43 students in Guerrero State in 2014;

Whereas the Governments of the United States and Mexico collaborate on a broad range of initiatives to strengthen the bilateral commercial and economic relationship, including the ongoing High Level Economic Dialogue, launched in 2013 to bring together cabinet officials from both countries to promote economic growth, job creation, a modern and efficient border, and competitiveness;

Whereas the United States and Mexico conducted $583,600,000,000 in trade in goods and services in 2015, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative;

Whereas Mexico is the United States’ second largest export market and third largest trading partner;

Whereas trade with Mexico and Canada supports nearly 14,000,000 United States jobs; and

Whereas United States and Mexican citizens collaborate on a broad range of initiatives to foster entrepreneurship, innovation, and educational exchanges: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) reaffirms the strategic partnership between the United States and Mexico, which is vital for the national security and economic well-being of both nations;

(2) supports continued diplomatic, economic, and security cooperation between the United States and Mexico, including undertaking joint efforts to address the common security challenges and opportunities for improved commerce that exist across their nearly 2,000 mile border;

(3) encourages enhanced security cooperation between the United States and Mexican militaries and law enforcement agencies to address common challenges such as counterterrorism and counter-narcotics, including the increased trafficking of heroin and fentanyl;

(4) commits to continue the United States Government’s partnership with the Government of Mexico to combat the transnational criminal organizations that are undermining the rule of law in Mexico and projecting their influence in the form of illicit trafficking of weapons, money, people, and drugs across the United States Southern Border;

(5) supports efforts by the Government of Mexico to strengthen the rule of law, reduce corruption, and advance civil and human rights; and

(6) remains committed to a relationship between the United States and Mexico that is based on mutual respect and the promotion of shared democratic values and principles.

“The United States and Mexico have long benefited from a symbiotic relationship in the areas of trade, defense, and national security,” Cornyn said, in a news release about the Senate Resolution. “It is vitally important, particularly for Texans, to ensure this strategic partnership is maintained by continuing to support economic and diplomatic cooperation between our two countries.”

Gerónimo Gutiérrez

Cornyn recently met with Mexico’s new ambassador to the U.S., Gerónimo Gutiérrez, in Washington, D.C. He said the meeting was very productive.

“He is someone I know will do a good job representing Mexico’s interests. Because of our previous relationship, I think we can continue to work together on issues of mutual interest and concern to both of our countries,” Cornyn said.

Cornyn knows Gutiérrez from the latter’s time as managing director of the North American Development Bank.

“It is important to note that five million American jobs depend on binational trade with Mexico. It is United States’ largest trading partner. Our relationship with Mexico is just as important as it has ever been,” Cornyn said.

Asked if U.S. relations with Mexico need to improve following comments made about Mexico during last year’s presidential election in the United States, Cornyn said:

“I asked Ambassador Gutiérrez about the visits of Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Kelly. He said that despite the rhetoric of the political campaign season, he felt like that was a very positive development and that they had very good visits with Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Kelly,” Cornyn said.

Rex Tillerson is the new secretary of state. John Kelly is the new secretary of homeland security.

“We did talk as well about NAFTA, which, as you might imagine, our Mexican counterparts are apprehensive about. I am a little concerned about what direction that might go in as well, because of the importance of Mexico and Canada, two of our export markets,” Cornyn said.

“I reassured him (Gutiérrez) that in my conversations with the Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, that they didn’t intend to tear up NAFTA, but rather to update it. There is a lot that has changed in our economies since NAFTA was passed back in the Clinton administration.

“Most notably the energy sector and the gas shale revolution. Of course, those shale formations don’t stop at the Rio Grande and Mexico is really transforming its own economy and inviting private investment into its energy economy.”

Cornyn added: “So, I think the sort of conversations Ambassador Gutiérrez and I had and the outreach you are seeing with the (Trump) administration is, I think, going a long way to settle down the relationship and any impact from the rhetoric used in the presidential campaign.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying this story shows Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in Cornyn’s Washington, D.C., office.