On Monday, I have the pleasure of returning to the United States of America to renew the commitment of the Mexican government to achieve two shared goals: to turn North America into the most competitive region in the world and to make our common border an area of prosperity for both nations.

This visit to Texas has a major significance. In addition to being one of the largest economies in the United States, Texas is our main trading partner in the U.S. Only in 2014, our economic exchanges exceeded $192 billion  and have been a source of employment for more than 400,000 people in Texas. We aim to develop more infrastructure projects on our border, such as the new rail crossing connecting Brownsville with Matamoros — first of its kind built by both countries in 100 years — and the newly inaugurated Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry and International Bridge, in order to increase the dynamism of our relationship. With these projects, we are strengthening our regional value chains and generating welfare on both sides of the border.

An efficient energy industry, open to investment and globally competitive, has a key role in increasing the competitiveness of Mexico and North America. In this sense, the energy reform that my country is implementing establishes a new paradigm which — maintaining state ownership of sub-soil hydrocarbon resources and its profits — allows the private sector participation across the entire hydrocarbons value chain and across practically the entire electrical sector. Thus, Mexico is making a transition from two state monopolies to open and competitive energy markets in favor of consumers.

This new legal and institutional framework also provides full transparency and legal certainty for investment. On the one hand, it laid the foundation for the launching of the Wholesale Electricity Market which — from January 2016 — allows private companies to compete on a level playing field in the generation and sale of electricity. It is estimated that it will attract more than $127 billion in investment over the next 15 years to increase to 60 gigawatts our power generation capacity and to expand our transmission network by 25,000 kilometers. With these resources, we will strengthen the cross-border electricity infrastructure shared by the United States and Mexico to encourage an efficient and mutually beneficial exchange of electricity between the two countries.

In the hydrocarbons sector, this structural reform has already made possible the incorporation of 30 new companies – from seven countries — in the areas of exploration and extraction, giving rise to a new oil industry in Mexico. In addition, by 2019, the national natural gas pipeline network will increase from 11,000 to 21,000 kilometers, through an estimated investment of $16 billion. This is particularly important for the energy integration of Texas and Mexico, as this state supplies 75 percent of Mexican natural gas imports. In this area, it is worth highlighting the beginning of operations of Los Ramones gas pipeline, which connects Agua Dulce in South Texas with the Bajio region in central Mexico. We also made progress in the development of four pipelines that will connect Texas to some northern states of Mexico.

The United States and Mexico are highly complementary economies. The current context of economic uncertainty and financial volatility calls for further integration rather than isolation. The ongoing dialogue and mutual understanding are our best tools to turn North America into the most competitive region in the world. Through openness and collaboration, our economies will achieve the shared prosperity that we have set ourselves and that our societies deserve.

Published in The Houston Chronicle