President Obama, President Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minster Harper of Canada speak to the press following their trilateral North American Leaders Summit meeting. February 19, 2014.
Following their annual summit last week, the leaders of the U.S., Canada and Mexico issued a joint statement on how the three NAFTA partners plan to work together on a variety of topics, including trade and economic competitiveness. They pointed out that in the 20 years since NAFTA was implemented trade among them has risen by at least 265% and investment within the region has been multiplied by six, spurred by “the competitive advantage of our integrated production and supply chains and our highly skilled workforce.”
At the same time, the leaders identified the following initiatives that they will pursue to build on that success.
- A North American competitiveness work plan focused on investment, innovation and increased private sector engagement will be developed.
- A North American transportation plan will be developed, beginning with a regional freight plan and building on existing initiatives.
- A North American trusted traveler program will be established in 2014, starting with the mutual recognition of the NEXUS, Global Entry, SENTRI and Viajero Confiable programs.
- Energy ministers will meet later this year to discuss opportunities to promote common strategies on energy efficiency, infrastructure, innovation, renewable energy, unconventional energy sources, energy trade, and responsible resource development.
- A new outreach mechanism will be developed in 2014 through which experts and stakeholders will be able to share their perspectives on the joint agenda and propose new lines of action.
- The statement also pledged additional work on streamlining procedures and harmonizing customs data requirements for traders, along with increased cooperation to combat the importation of counterfeit products, but no further details were provided.
- Mexican President Pena Nieto said he agreed with President Obama to work on a proposal to help find ways to fund border infrastructure projects and allow “more agile and safer commercial transactions.”
An editorial by Carlo Dade, director of the Centre for Trade & Investment Policy at the Canada West Foundation; Silvia Núñez García, director of the Center for Research on North America at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City; and Erik Lee, executive director of the North American Research Partnership, a trilateral think-tank with offices in Phoenix and San Diego.