U.S.-Mexico Air Transport Agreement: A New Chapter for Travel & Trade Has Arrived

Posted by Thomas Engle
August 19, 2016
An airplane takes off at sunset.

This Sunday, August 21, we welcome an exciting, new chapter in commercial aviation between the United States and Mexico -- a chapter that will help drive economic growth on both sides of the border. Entry into force of our new Air Transport Agreement is an important milestone that realizes a key goal of the ongoing U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue. The new agreement removes limits on the number of airlines serving any U.S.-Mexico city pairs and expands opportunities for travel and trade between the United States and Mexico.

This new agreement lifts restrictions on market access. As a result, U.S. and Mexican airlines are already taking steps to offer more flights and serve new routes. This will lead to more choices for travelers and businesses on both sides of the border. Communities in both countries stand to see economic gains in the tourism sector and beyond as they welcome greater numbers of visitors arriving on more flights. The agreement will also enable U.S. and Mexican cargo carriers to connect to the global marketplace more efficiently and cost-effectively.

This success is the result of hard work and collaboration between the U.S. and Mexican governments. As the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, I am proud of our dedicated team of negotiators who worked hand in hand with experts from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Commerce, and their Mexican counterparts, to fashion a pro-growth, pro-competition agreement that further strengthens the dynamic commercial and economic relationship between the United States and Mexico. Last December, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and his Mexican counterpart, Secretary of Communications and Transport Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, signed the Air Transport Agreement at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., joined by Assistant Secretary of State Charles Rivkin and other officials. Then, as President Obama and Mexican President Peña Nieto met on July 22 and highlighted the economic benefits of the agreement, our governments exchanged diplomatic notes that set August 21, 2016 as the date for its entry into force. 

Last year, the United States and Mexico engaged in an estimated $583.6 billion of trade in goods and services, making Mexico one of our largest trading partners. Travel and transportation services are among the leading U.S. service exports to Mexico. The potential for growth becomes greater with the entry into force our new aviation agreement. President Obama stated during the joint press conference following his meeting with President Peña Nieto, “We’re going to keep working to boost trade and grow our economies and create more opportunity for our people.” Our new U.S.-Mexico Air Transport Agreement is one vital way we’re doing that, and I can’t wait to see the positive impact and broad economic benefits that this achievement will bring for years to come.

About the Author: Thomas Engle serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

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