View from Mexico: A roadmap for relations with Canada

6/30/2015 OpenCanada.org

Photo by Flickr user I.A.M.
Photo by Flickr user I.A.M.

Mexico’s Ambassador to Canada, Francisco Suárez Dávila, spoke to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on June 2, discussing what he saw as priorities for the next North American Leaders’ Summit.

While he questioned why more Canadian students do not study in Mexico, and why Canada’s third-largest trading partner has been given such low priority for easing mobility,  “the good news,” he said, “is that Canada and Mexico, acting together, are making progress to reverse U.S. protectionist measures on COOL, working together on TPP negotiations, and there is also progress on visas.”

Going forward, here are the 10 topics Ambassador Suarez says are “essential for the North America agenda” — in his own words.

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A ‘COOL’ response from Canada and Mexico

6/19/15 The Hill

Photo by Flickr user I.A.M.
Photo by Flickr user I.A.M.

Country of origin labeling (COOL) has been contested by Canada and Mexico since December 2008, with the U.S.’s final appeal being denied by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the last several months. The finding of the WTO was that the COOL provisions discriminated against Canada, Mexico and other countries from a technical perspective because the information required of slaughterhouses and processors was substantially greater than that disseminated to the public. This translates to a conclusion that imported products received less favorable treatment than domestic products; thus the U.S. violated its WTO obligation.

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Canada should focus on NAFTA and Mexico

6/10/15 Financial Post
NAFTA_logoMexico’s growth prospects make it the best option for Canada’s emerging market expansion and investment plans.

If Canada”s interest in the North American Free Trade Agreement was in deepening regional trade integration between our economy and the US and Mexico, then we could say it certainly succeeded — at least for about five years.

By 1999, however, Canada’s NAFTA trade had peaked, and it has since only declined as a share of its trade with the rest of the world: from 79 to 66 per cent. Truly free trade with the US has proved elusive — the number of professions granted labour-mobility concessions under NAFTA has gone virtually unchanged for 20 years — and trade irritants continue to rankle on both sides of the Canada-US border.

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Canada, Mexico push for $3 billion in sanctions against U.S

06/05/15 Reuters

canada mexicoCanada and Mexico will seek World Trade Organization authorization to impose over $3 billion in sanctions against U.S. exports in retaliation against contentious meat-labeling laws, the two nations said on Thursday.

U.S. legislators have signaled they plan to repeal the 2009 laws, which Canada and Mexico says makes their meat products more expensive.

In May, the WTO upheld an earlier ruling that country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules illegally discriminate against imported livestock from Canada and Mexico, rejecting a U.S. appeal.

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Mexico, US, Canada Groups Ask UN to List Monarch Butterfly Reserve as in Danger

Fox News, 4/14/2015

Activists from Mexico, the United States and Canada are asking the U.N. World Heritage Committee to include the Monarch butterfly wintering reserve on a list of sites considered in danger.

UNESCO designated the 139,000-acre (56,259 hectare) reserve in the mountains west of Mexico City a World Heritage site in 2008.

Monarchs from the U.S. and Canada migrate 3,400-miles (5,470-kilometers) each year to winter in the forest reserve.

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Addressing Global Energy Demand in North America

1/22/2015 The Wagner Review

By Maria Landa, Former Mexico Institute Intern

environment - energy - light bulb with paddy riceBy 2030, global energy demand will increase by 41 percent due to rapid population and economic growth. Between 2012 and 2035, global population is projected to grow by 1.7 billion and real (or inflation-adjusted) income will more than double. In order to promote more energy efficient activities that curb greenhouse gas emissions and slow growth related to demand, both developed and emerging economies have placed environment and climate policies high on their political agendas. Yet, the latest scenario by the International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook estimates that in 2040, oil and gas will remain the backbone of energy supply, making up nearly half of the total energy supply – with the remainder coming from coal and low-carbon fuels.

Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. will play critical roles in meeting the demand, tackling pressure on the global energy system, and contributing to energy security. With the abundance of U.S. natural gas and oil reserves, Canada’s oil sands and Mexico’s landmark constitutional energy reform (which opened its energy sector to private investment for the first time), North America is now considered an energy superpower. Leading think tanks and political leaders are urging the U.S. not only to strengthen ties with its North American neighbors, but also to make the trilateral relationship a priority in U.S. policy. The Council on Foreign Relations recently released a report led by former CIA Director David Petraeus and former World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, indicating that increased production and innovation in the energy sector coupled with China’s labor and shipping costs, boost North America’s global competitive advantage.

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Harper Postpones Three Amigos Summit Amid Chilly Relations with U.S. and Mexico

1/15/2015 The Globe and Mail

NAFTAPrime Minister Stephen Harper has postponed the North American leaders’ summit with U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at a time when relations with both leaders are chilly.

The unexpected move allows Mr. Harper to avoid an awkward side-by-side news conference with Mr. Obama at a February summit that all three governments were expecting would be dominated by the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline – now at the top of the political agenda in Washington.