Mexico-U.S. talks focus on water rights, NAFTA
Napolitano and governors from Texas, California and New Mexico will represent the United States.
The Associated Press
SANTA FE, N.M. - Water and international trade top the agenda this week as Gov. Janet Napolitano joins the chiefs of three U.S. and six Mexican states for the 22nd Border Governors Conference.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will chair the conference, called "Building International Cooperation on Water and Trade."
The governors are to discuss water quality, quantity and interstate agreements that govern how water is allocated.
Richardson said he hopes for resolution of interstate and international fighting over water.
"The objective is to have a better working relationship among states on water issues in the absence of the federal government on both sides doing anything," he said. "Chihuahua and Texas have been fighting extensively over water, Mexico and Texas have kind of duked it out. We're improving our bilateral relationship with Chihuahua on water, but there's just a lot of stuff happening."
The governors also plan to discuss how life has changed for border states in the 10 years that the North American Free Trade Agreement has been in place.
Richardson said he sees positives and negatives in the agreement that opened trade among Canada, the United States and Mexico.
"I believe that NAFTA is not just about expanding trade, which it has done. It's also about cleaning up the border, it's about protecting workers' rights, it's about better air quality and water quality. I believe at the border, we, the U.S. and Mexico, haven't done an adequate job ... we are sadly behind," Richardson said.
A panel of experts was to talk today on the pros and cons of NAFTA. The two-day conference ends tomorrow.
Other governors scheduled to attend:
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Baja Gov. Eugenio Elorduy Walther
Chihuahua Gov. Patricio Martinez Garcia
Nuevo Leon Gov. Jose Natividad Gonzalez Paras
Sonora Gov. Eduardo Bours Castelo
Tamaulipas Gov. Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba