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Opportunity, Peace And Security Are Shared North American Goals

Published on 21 February 2014

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by Charlene Porter


Washington, D.C.

North American leaders are committed to economic growth that benefits citizens of all three countries — Canada, Mexico and the United States. In a February 19 summit hosted by Mexico’s president in the city of Toluca, the three leaders described a shared vision to set new global standards for multilateral cooperation in trade, educational exchanges, environmentally sustainable economic activity and innovation.

Standing with his counterparts, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama spoke of “a North America that’s more integrated and more competitive,” with shared commitments to pursue initiatives promoting opportunity, peace, security and development.

Increasing global competitiveness to make the region what Obama called “a powerhouse in the global economy” is one important objective to be achieved by increasing the ease of trade.

“We’re going to create a one-stop shop online so companies can submit all their information in one place and save themselves time and money,” Obama said. He signed an executive order February 19 that will permit these streamlined procedures.

The 2014 North American Leaders Summit coincided with the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a landmark pact that has produced a more than 250 percent increase in trade among the three countries, which now totals more than $1 trillion, according to White House documents.

Harper said the leaders agree “that there is enormous potential to build on the success of NAFTA in new ways, for example, most notably through the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Harper said the North American leaders are focusing on successful completion of this new trade agreement, currently being negotiated by 12 participating nations, including the three North American partners.

The three leaders also expressed mutual support for initiatives to promote innovation and education throughout the region in pursuit of greater entrepreneurship and economic development.

“America’s success, Mexico’s success, Canadian success are all bound together,” Obama said.

Increasing the numbers of students participating in inter-regional educational exchanges is another component of that goal. This objective will build on a previously launched Obama administration project, known as 100,000 Strong in the Americas, to bring more Canadian and Mexican students to the United States for study to better develop “familiarity and partnerships and friendships that will serve them and serve our countries well for decades to come,” Obama said.

Greater cooperation in energy and environmental policies is another issue of mutual agreement for the North American leaders. President Peña Nieto said the leaders agreed to “foster sustainable development, working toward the mitigation of the effects of climate change.”

Citizen security is another matter of shared concern for the regional leaders. They are sketching out plans for improving emergency management communications, collaborating in health security and combatting criminal activity such as trafficking in persons and product counterfeiting.

Further extending the outreach of the North American alliance to include Caribbean and Central American partners in the region is another goal cited by the leaders.

Summarizing the outcome of the meeting, Peña Nieto emphasized the friendship and respect shared by the nations, and their dedication to creating greater economic competitiveness in the global marketplace.

“This is a region that has a true call for prosperity,” Peña Nieto said. “And we will work to provide better well-being to the citizens of our countries.”



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Posted 2014-02-21 13:16:00