MEXICO CITY – On December 7, 2023, US secretary of the treasury, Janet L. Yellen, and Mexico’s secretary of finance and public credit, Rogelio Ramírez de la O, signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) to affirm the importance of foreign investment screening in protecting national security and express their desire to establish a bilateral working group for regular exchanges of information about how investment screening can best protect national security.
Secretary Yellen said: “I am pleased to announce our intention to establish a bilateral working group between the United States and Mexico on foreign investment review. Both countries benefit when they work together to guard against foreign investments that pose national security risks. This engagement is further evidence of the close partnership between our two countries, not only on matters of trade but also on critical issues of national security.”
The MOI recognizes the importance of the US-Mexico economic relationship, the benefits of maintaining an open investment climate, and the critical role of effective investment review mechanisms in addressing national security risks that can arise from certain foreign investment, particularly in certain technologies, critical infrastructure, and sensitive data.
Cooperation in foreign investment screening complements other areas of bilateral engagement, including the US-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) that US president Joseph R. Biden and Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador relaunched in 2021 to advance the many shared strategic economic and commercial priorities, including strengthening the region’s supply chains.
North America faced significant supply chain challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the United States and Mexico responded with new policy initiatives and approaches to bring jobs and investment in essential sectors back to the region. As this effort continues, cooperation between the US and Mexico on investment security is one way to support our shared national security objectives while promoting an open investment climate in the region.
Meaningful dialogue with allies and partners in support of effective investment screening mechanisms is a key function of the US department of the treasury’s role as chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Paul Rosen, assistant secretary for Investment Security at the US department of the treasury, noted that “Our collective security is stronger when we share a common mission, commitment, understanding of national security risk in the context of foreign investment. This working group recognizes the fact that US national security is linked to the security of our allies and partners, including our neighbours in North America.”
More than 20 countries implemented or enhanced their investment screening regimes in the past decade, and many more are in the process of developing regimes. In an evolving and interconnected threat environment, CFIUS works with governments all over the world to promote stronger tools for screening foreign investment.
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