Dear Prime Minister Harper, President Obama and President Peña Nieto:
The Business Roundtable, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, and the Consejo Mexicano de Hombres de Negocios have a long history of working together to strengthen North American economic ties. We write to urge you to accelerate your efforts to further strengthen our countries’ economic relations and ensure that Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. companies and their workers are well-positioned to succeed in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
CEO members of our organizations have met to discuss the status of the North American economic relationship and agreed that improvements can be made to enhance the international competitiveness of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Three broad areas were identified where more can be done by our respective governments to create a more integrated and competitive North American economic space. These areas are: (1) intelligent border systems; (2) greater regulatory cooperation; and (3) North American energy security and sustainability. We have worked together to develop a series of specific recommendations for government action in each of these areas that is attached.
The Last Two Decades of Growth and New Challenges and Opportunities
Our groups have undertaken this trilateral initiative because while the North American marketplace has grown significantly over the last two decades and trade and investment among our countries is healthy and growing, our companies continue to face obstacles to doing business across and within our borders. We are concerned that these obstacles inhibit the competitiveness of our companies and workers who sell goods and services to one another and who make products together that we sell in the global marketplace.
Almost two decades ago, in 1994, Canada, Mexico, and the United States led the way in the development of regional international trade and investment agreements with the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA opened our markets, increased our economic cooperation, and expanded cross-border trade and investment. As a result, over the past two decades North American supply chains have become more tightly integrated and the quality, variety, price, and availability of goods and services on a regional basis have converged. The result has been increased jobs, economic growth, and prosperity in all three countries.
Today, Canada, Mexico, and the United States form a marketplace that includes more than 460 million consumers and represents one quarter of the world’s economy. At $19 trillion, this marketplace is larger than that of the EU and more than double the size of China. An estimated 14 million U.S. jobs are tied directly to trade with Canada and Mexico. Half of U.S. exports and imports to and from Canada and Mexico take place between related companies. Moreover, Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. manufacturers and service companies have been increasingly investing in each other’s countries over the last two decades.
At the same time, the international trade and investment landscape has changed dramatically, becoming much more competitive and opening up many new opportunities. For these reasons, the time is ripe for Canada, Mexico, and the United States to respond to these new challenges and pursue new opportunities to enhance our global competitiveness. More can and should be done to promote regulatory cooperation between our three countries, to facilitate the legitimate movement of people, goods and services throughout the North American market, and to realize the potential for North American energy self-reliance. We can achieve greater economic, policy and regulatory cooperation between our countries while maintaining sovereignty, privacy, consumer protection, health, safety, security and the environment.
We strongly believe that the types of actions we are recommending to our governments will help deepen our economic ties, strengthen the international competitiveness of Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. companies and their workers, and realize North American energy self-reliance. As free trade agreements proliferate, we must achieve a seamless North American market to be competitive. The challenge before us is to move beyond pilot projects, feasibility studies, and regulatory reviews to fuller implementation and longer-term, strategic action. We urge you to continue to work closely together to achieve these important goals, and we stand ready to partner with you to that end.
Douglas R. Oberhelman
Chair, International Engagement Committee
David M. Cote
Chair, Energy and Environment Committee
John P. Manley
President and CEO
Canadian Council of Chief Executives
Claudio X. Gonzalez
Consejo Mexicano de Hombres de Negocios