Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael C. Camuñez stressed the importance of focusing on the U.S.-Mexico border region as a national asset that is a significant source of economic strength and job creation as he launched the “Realizing the Economic Strength of Our 21st Century Border: Trade, Education, and Jobs” conference today in Tempe.

“The United States-Mexico border region is one of the most important commercial and trade corridors in the world” Camuñez said. “The scale of the relationship is so vast that its impact extends well beyond the border and into the interior of both countries and is critical to both of our countries’ economic growth and stability.”

Camuñez also noted that the 10 U.S. and Mexican border states, with a combined population of nearly 100 million people, is a key to unlocking additional growth.

“The border region is the staging point for the vast majority of U.S.-Mexico commercial activity with approximately 80 percent of U.S. exports passing through or originating in the region,” he said. “That’s why the Obama Administration is committed to enhancing and improving border infrastructure, improving trade facilitation, and increasing the secure flow of goods and people. It is an important element of our strategy to help create jobs in the region.”

The conference, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the North American Center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University, is a key element of the Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative and also supports the bi-national 21st Century Border Management Initiative launched by Presidents Obama and Calderon earlier this year. The initiative is designed to enhance economic competitiveness of the border region.

The full text of Assistant Secretary Camuñez’s remarks is located at