Mexico’s president to tour state; discuss trade and immigration

The Associated Press
Saturday March 10, 2001

SACRAMENTO — Mexican President Vicente Fox is scheduled to tour California this month to discuss trade, technology and immigration issues with government and business leaders. 

“If we are going to be good neighbors and good partners, we need to be able to talk about all of the good things that we can partner in doing,” California’s Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante said Friday. 

“We also need to talk about the problems that take place in order to be able to air them openly, discuss them frankly and deal with them.” 

The March 21-23 visit will be Fox’s first trip to California since he took office Dec. 1 and falls on the heels of President Bush’s February visit to Mexico to boost cooperation between the two countries. 

Despite a thorny relationship between California and Mexico in the past, Gov. Gray Davis and Fox have pledged cooperation.  

Then President-elect Fox visited Los Angeles in November and Davis and Bustamante attended Fox’s inauguration. 

In addition to trade and immigration, Fox likely will address issues involving the environment, drug interdiction and technology on his trip, Bustamante said. 

During the three-day trip, he is slated to address a joint session of the California Legislature; visit with technology officials in Silicon Valley; meet with business leaders in Los Angeles; and open a Mexico Trade Center in Santa Ana, Bustamante said. 

Fox, the first opposition presidential candidate ever to defeat the Institutional Revolutionary Party that has ruled Mexico since 1929, has pledged sweeping reforms including tackling corruption and improving foreign relations. 

An official announcement of Fox’s visit has not been made, nor a detailed itinerary released.  

A Davis spokesman said the Mexican president still has to follow a protocol of formally notifying his Congress to approve the trip. 

But tickets for a luncheon with business leaders in Los Angeles already are sold out and preparations are under way statewide to welcome Fox. 

“The president probably is one of the most popular people in the world and there are great, high expectations everywhere for him and his new administration,” said James Clark, executive director of the California Pacific Office of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.