Seeking to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship.
The foreign ministers of Mexico and Canada presented a unified front ahead of potential trade talks with Donald Trump’s administration, stressing the North American Free Trade Agreement has benefited all three countries.
Mexico’s Luis Videgaray and Canada’s Chrystia Freeland said Nafta should be re-negotiated with all three nations seated at the table, rather than in bilateral discussions.
“We very much recognize that Nafta is a three-country agreement,” Freeland said Tuesday at a panel discussion with Videgaray in Toronto ahead of private trade talks. “We really value our relationship with Mexico.”
Over the past year, there has been significant progress in the North American effort to address climate change. One case in point is the North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership, which the national governments of the United States, Mexico, and Canada created in June 2016. Outside of the European Union, it is the most ambitious attempt yet to integrate environment, energy, and climate priorities and policies at a regional level.
Since the November 2016 U.S. presidential election, however, the North American relationship on climate change—as well as the North American relationship on a range of other issues—has been uncertain at best. This uncertainty came to the fore during Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit with President Donald Trump on Monday, when climate change was mentioned in neither the leaders’ joint statement nor the joint press conference. Although it is possible that the leaders discussed it behind closed doors, there is so far no indication of this.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly slammed the North American Free Trade Agreement, but he signaled Monday that one of the United States partners in the deal could face more drastic changes than the other.
After Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House, the leaders touted the neighbors’ trade relationship, with Trudeau signaling they wanted to continue “effective integration of our two economies.” Trump has repeatedly slammed NAFTA as a drag on American jobs, but said he thinks the U.S. gets a worse deal from its southern neighbor, Mexico, than from Canada.
“We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We’ll be tweaking it. We’ll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries. It’s a much less severe situation than what’s taken place on the southern border,” Trump said at a joint White House press conference with Trudeau.
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Canada could see more asylum seekers from Mexico because of U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies, the U.N. and refugee advocates said.
Given Trump’s calls to build a wall along the Mexico border and to ban refugees, Mexican migrants may try to head straight to Canada, they said.
One scenario is “that people will … jump straight to come to Canada – by air, by plane – and launch an asylum claim here in Canada,” Jean-Nicolas Beuze, the head of the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR in Canada said in a telephone interview.
“When the direct crossing into neighboring countries is made more difficult by administrative measures, new policies, new laws, or in this case a wall, people … look at other options,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for unity and understanding on his first day at the State Department amid internal dissent over policies of President Donald Trump, which have also antagonized a range of allies.
Within hours of starting the job, Tillerson reached out by phone to counterparts from Mexico and Canada, spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and met with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, department officials said.
Hundreds of State Department officials greeted the former Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) chief executive with applause as he entered the building. Louder cheers broke out when Tillerson thanked acting Secretary of State Tom Shannon for standing in after the departure of John Kerry.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke by phone on Monday, agreeing to stay in close touch and work more quickly to deepen North American ties, Mexico’s government said in a statement.
Pena Nieto “reiterated the will of the Mexican government to continue reinforcing ties … between the two peoples,” the statement said.
“Both leaders agreed to keep in close contact and intensify their teams’ work to speed up the integration of a stronger and more prosperous North America,” the government said.
The call comes after threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that binds the three countries if he cannot renegotiate it to benefit the United States.
U.S. authorities say Trump is more focused on large U.S. trade deficits with countries such as Mexico.
Meanwhile, Canadian officials have said they will focus on preserving U.S. trade ties during talks to renegotiate NAFTA and may not be able to help Mexico avoid being targeted by the Trump administration.
A planned summit between Trump and Pena Nieto was canceled last week after the American real estate mogul said it was better to forgo it if Mexico was unwilling to pay for a wall separating the two countries.
Every electoral cycle in the United States or Mexico brings the opportunity to reevaluate the relationship and explore how both nations can improve upon the bilateral agenda given changes in the regional and global context. In the coming months, it is quite likely that crucial issues in the relationship may be revisited in profound ways. This presents both real risks and real opportunities. Even as the political climate changes, the on-the-ground benefits of regional collaboration for the security and economic well-being of the United States, Mexico, and all of North America continue to be immense.
“Towards a North American Foreign Policy Footprint,” was written by Earl Anthony Wayne, Career Ambassador and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, and Arturo Sarukhan, Career Ambassador and former Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. In the policy brief, the authors review existing cooperation and explore the potential for enhanced cooperation on international issues by Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
This policy brief is the first of our series “Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations.” The policy briefs will be released individually and published as a volume in the spring of 2017.