LAREDO, Texas – Congressman Henry Cuellar says he has secured passage of the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act. 

The Laredo Democrat said the bill, otherwise known as H.R. 133, is designed to bolster professional development and economic growth in both the U.S. and Mexico, with a focus on the energy, health, entrepreneurship, and education sectors. 

Cuellar said it is also designed to promote a bilingual workforce that can better serve both sides of the border and increase economic development in the region. The legislation received bipartisan support.

“In 2019, Mexico became the largest trading partner of the United States. Every day, $1.6 billion worth of trade crosses our southern border, directly supporting American and Mexican businesses, farmers and jobs,” Cuellar said. 

“I introduced the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act so we can continue to deepen our relationship with Mexico both through economic integration and educational programs.”

Cuellar said that by increasing academic exchanges in the energy, business, education, and health sectors, economic prosperity in both nations would increase.

He said it would allow the U.S. and Mexico to further capitalize on the strengths each country has to offer. 

“As the Chair of the U.S.-Mexico Inter-Parliamentary Group, I am committed to expanding our economic partnership through increased cooperation, interconnection, and integration of ideas. I want to thank Senator Cornyn for his help in ushering support in the Senate.”

Cuellar cited information from the Institute of International Education. In the 2015-2016 academic year, more than 56,000 U.S. students studied in other countries in the Western Hemisphere, while more than 84,000 non-U.S. students from the region studied in the U.S. 

However, only 5,000 of those United States students studied in Mexico and only 16,000 of those non-U.S. students were from Mexico.

Cuellar provided reporters with these bullet points about his legislation:

Increasing Bilateral Economic Integration

Both countries have benefited from bilateral, mutually beneficial partnerships focused on advancing each country’s economic interests. Under the United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act, the State Department would create a strategy to further support economic relations between the U.S. and Mexico through academic and professional programs to contribute to this goal.

Expanding Professional and Educational Exchange Programs

The measure will require the State Department to develop a plan that expands educational and professional exchange programs with Mexico through the framework of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative, The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in Action), Fulbright Foreign Student Program, and Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program. 

Specifically, Cuellar said, H.R. 133 will:

1. Encourage more academic exchange programs at the secondary, post-secondary, and post-graduate levels;

2. Encourage academic institutions and businesses to collaborate to support entrepreneurs and joint business initiatives;

3. Promote energy infrastructure coordination through vocational-level education, internships, and exchanges;

4. Require the State Department to assess the feasibility of facilitating partnerships between universities and medical and nursing programs in both countries.

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