North America’s Anti-Brexit Moment

6/28/2016 Bloomberg View

This week’s meeting among the leaders of the U.S., Mexico and Canada might have been a mostly forgettable formality — had British voters not just decided to leave the European Union. Add in Donald Trump’s shrill threats to tear up trade agreements and build walls, and presidents Barack Obama and Enrique Pena Nieto and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau face a need to reaffirm, and strengthen, their own growing ties.

Luckily, these leaders have a pretty good story to tell. Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are one another’s most important trading partners. The U.S. exports more than four times as much to Mexico and Canada as it does to China, and more than twice as much as to the EU. Well-developed supply chains mean that more than 40 percent of the value of U.S. imports from Mexico, and 25 percent of those from Canada, originates in the U.S., compared with 2 to 5 percent for the EU, China, India and South Korea. Since 1993, North American trade has more than tripled, and cross-border investment has quintupled.

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