A historic meeting took last week between Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto,U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper,who worked together on a variety of different issues,including energy independence,strengthening economic ties and promoting travel between the three nations.
“A more unified North America is in a better position to hold its own with China as commerce across the Pacific increases,” writes the LA Times.
All three leaders have pledged to improve their substantial and lucrative trade links,which already span North America and reap more than $1 trillion annually. The plan is to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),creating a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that aims to make North America the “most competitive region in the world,” according to a statement by Peña Nieto.
Economic cooperation has grown exponentially between the three nations since the signing of NAFTA in 1994,but a slew of progressive reforms Peña Nieto pushed through congress in late 2013 have attracted renewed interest from foreign investors and businesses,to the tune of an additional $10 billion annually pouring into Mexico,with no signs of slowing down.
“Energy and other reforms Peña Nieto pushed through congress last year have once again created buzz about Mexico as a good place for foreign investment,” writes Fox News. “Experts say the continent of three oil-producing countries could become energy independent with Mexico’s reform,which eliminates the state monopoly and opens the oil sector to international investment and contractors with expertise to extract the country’s vast proven reserves.”
Harper and Peña Nieto also discussed a newly expanded Canada-Mexico air travel agreement,which will boost travel between the two nations by giving Mexican airlines greater access to Canadian cities. In addition,the leaders worked on a plan that is ultimately expected to lift stringent visa requirements in Canada and to develop a fast-track process for pre-approved frequent travelers between the two nations.
Similarly,Obama and Peña Nieto spoke about relaxing border controls for executives and other trusted business travelers. The changes will come following the development of a single,continent-wide system that will pre-screen individuals and improve information sharing between national authorities from both countries.