Council on Foreign Relations Launches Independent Task Force on the Future of North America

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Date: October 15, 2004

Related Issues North America

The Council on Foreign Relations ( today announced the launch of an independent, trinational task force on the future of North America. Thomas d’Aquino, President and Chief Executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) will serve as one of three vice-chairs of the task force.

Following is the announcement by the Council on Foreign Relations:

Council Joins Leading Canadians and Mexicans to Launch Independent Task Force on the Future of North America

October 15, 2004—The Council has launched an independent task force on the future of North America to examine regional integration since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement ten years ago.  The task force will identify inadequacies in the current arrangements and suggest opportunities for deeper cooperation on areas of common interest. Unlike other Council-sponsored task forces, which focus primarily on U.S. policy, this initiative includes participants from Canada and Mexico, as well as the United States, and will make policy recommendations for all three countries.

The task force will review five spheres of policy in which greater cooperation may be needed. They are: deepening economic integration; reducing the development gap; harmonizing regulatory policy; enhancing security; and devising better institutions to manage conflicts that inevitably arise from integration and exploit opportunities for collaboration.

“Ten years after NAFTA, it is obvious that the security and economic futures of Canada, Mexico, and the United States are intimately bound. But there is precious little thinking available as to where the three countries need to be in another ten years and how to get there.  I am excited about the potential of this task force to help fill this void,” said Council President Richard N. Haass.

The task force is chaired by former Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance John P. Manley, former Finance Minister of Mexico Pedro Aspe, and former Governor of Massachusetts and Assistant Attorney General William F. Weld.

“Since NAFTA came into effect 10 years ago the world has seen dramatic change,” said Manley. “The European Union has expanded to 25 members and China and India have become major economic factors. At the same time the need to build cooperative security relationships has become more critical in the aftermath of 9/11. North America cannot but move forward and this initiative of the Council on Foreign Relations provides an important forum to develop a roadmap for the future of the North American community.”

“After a decade since signing NAFTA, there are new realities facing North America in the economic, social and security fronts. Only by having constructive dialogue among our three countries can we reach common ground on these topics,” said Aspe.

“As a former governor of a state dependent on foreign trade, I am well aware of how our future is intertwined with that of our nearest neighbors,” said Weld. “Maximizing economic growth and development throughout this century—in other words, creating the greatest wealth for the greatest number—will require us to abandon zero-sum thinking.  Without derogating from legitimate national concerns, we will need to consider what is best for the people of the North American continent.”

Chief Executive of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives Thomas d’Aquino, President of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations Andrés Rozental, and Vice President of International Affairs at American University Robert A. Pastor will serve as vice chairs. Chappell H. Lawson, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will direct the task force.

The task force will hold its first meetings on Sunday, October 17 and Monday, October 18, 2004 in Toronto, Ontario. Subsequent meetings will be held in New York City and Monterrey, Mexico. The task force will release its final report in 2005.

Founded in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations is an independent, national membership organization and a nonpartisan center for scholars dedicated to producing and disseminating ideas so that individual and corporate members, as well as policymakers, journalists, students, and interested citizens in the United States and other countries, can better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other governments. For more information go to

Members of the Independent Task Force on North America

Mr. Thomas Axworthy
Queen’s University

Ms. Heidi S. Cruz
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.

Mr. Nelson W. Cunningham
Kissinger McLarty Associates

Mr. Alfonso de Angoitia
Grupo Televisa, S.A.

General Sir Luis de La Calle
De la Calle, Madrazo, Mancera, S.C.

Mr. James Dinning

Professor Wendy K. Dobson
University of Toronto

Dr. Richard A. Falkenrath
The Brookings Institution

Dr. Rafael Fernandez de Castro
Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México

Mr. Ramón Alberto Garza García

The Honorable Gordon D. Giffin
McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP

Mr. Carlos Heredia Zubieta
Mexican Council on Foreign Relations

The Honorable Carla A. Hills
Hills & Company

Mr. Gary C. Hufbauer
Institute for International Economics

Mr. Pierre Marc Johnson
Heenan Blaikie

The Honorable James R. Jones
Manatt Jones Global Strategies

Mr. David Mann
Emera Inc.

Ms. Doris M. Meissner
Migration Policy Institute

The Honorable Thomas M. T Niles
U.S. Council for International Business

Madame Beatriz Paredes Rangel
Fundacion Colosio

Dr. Luis Rubio

The Honourable Michael H. Wilson
UBS Global Asset Management Co.

Mr. Raul Yzaguirre
National Council of la Raza


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