Introductory Remarks by Angel Gurría
Paris, France, 11 December 2017
(As prepared for delivery)
Dear President, Minister Videgaray, Ministers, Vice-Ministers, Ambassadors, Directors, dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great pleasure to welcome the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, to the OECD. We are so proud to see him joining the rest of the leaders, who along with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, are clearly committed to deliver on our 2015 Climate Agreement. México has been a leader in the fight against climate change since the COP16 in Cancun, and they put words into action. Just this week, they will announce that they will join the OECD Paris Collaborative on Green Budgeting, one of the deliverables that the OECD will present to the world. Thank you Mister President. Adding your voice makes a great difference.
President Peña Nieto has shown a great resolve to change México and has put together the most ambitious reform package that any OECD country has built in recent times; he forged the necessary political consensus to do so through an unprecedented Pacto por México, and then promoted passage of those reforms in Congress and started implementing them.
The reform package addressed policy areas that had been waiting for changes for decades. These efforts faced strong headwinds, as vested interests defended the status quo. But he persevered. I want to thank him for having reached out to the OECD to help break such status quo. He put to very good use our evidence, our analysis, and our commitment and passion for the well-being of the Mexican people to advance these meaningful changes.
The reforms have borne fruit. Even in a challenging international environment, you can be proud of your legacy Mr. President, as these reforms have already produced and will continue to produce positive results.
The education reform has led to the first systematic evaluation of teachers; career development based on performance; school evaluations focused on equity and quality; a new education model based on global competencies. The telecoms reform boosted competition; the prices of broadband mobile packages decreased by up to 75% and the number of mobile broadband subscriptions increased by 50 million. The energy reform opened the energy sector to private investment and competition, securing investments of close to $80 billion dollars. The tax reform increased tax collection and reduced informality. Labour, competition, state-owned enterprises, transparency and integrity, anti-corruption, are some of the other areas involved in the reform package.
I would like to acknowledge the now Minister of Foreign Affairs, but at the time Minister of Finance, as the one who coordinated the work with the OECD, Luis Videgaray, and the head AMEXCID, Ambassador Garcia-Lopez, who happened to be the Mexican Ambassador to the OECD at the time and who is also with us today. My Chief of Staff and Sherpa Gabriela Ramos and my Advisor Mario Lopez-Roldán coordinated the work that involved many directorates.
Of course Mexico is still converging with OECD standards. It is still facing important challenges: fighting poverty, inequalities, and informality; addressing the low levels of productivity; large education gaps and disparities; mismatches in the supply and demand of skills; strengthening the rule of law, especially at state and municipal levels; and combating crime and insecurity. This is why it is fundamental to give continuity to this battery of reforms. It is crucial to strengthen their implementation and monitor their compliance. It is important not to backtrack!
The OECD stands ready to keep helping Mexico address these challenges. We are currently working with and for the Mexican Government, with a very dynamic Ambassador Monica Aspe and her team, in key areas, from higher education and skills, to social policy and combating poverty, productivity, competition, regulatory improvement, integrity, e-procurement, the new airport, disaster protection and reaction policies, to mention only a few.
As Mexico approaches the next Presidential and Legislative election on 1 July 2018, we will keep working to support the implementation of reforms in Mexico. We also plan to do what we have done already in the two last administrations to prepare a “Getting it Right” study with an OECD assessment of achievements and challenges in Mexico, and organize a Public Policy Forum in Mexico City in the context of the presidential campaigns, to spark a debate among presidential candidates.
Thank you for your visit and your confidence! Mr President the floor is yours.