U.S. Department of Commerce Office of the Secretary
Washington, D.C. 20230 www.commerce.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2008
CONTACT: Rich Mills / Ann Marie Hauser
Joint Statement by Ministers Responsible for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America
In preparation for our leaders’ meeting in New Orleans on April 21-22, we, the ministers responsible for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) met in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, to review progress on the five priorities identified by leaders in Montebello and to discuss cooperative approaches to common challenges and opportunities.
This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has been a tremendous success: trade and commerce among our countries have grown exponentially. Trilateral merchandise trade is approximately $900 billion in 2007, significantly contributing to economic growth and increased standards of living in all three countries.
The SPP builds on this dynamic relationship by providing Canada, Mexico and the United States a partnership to build a safer, more secure and economically dynamic North America, while respecting the sovereignty, laws, unique heritage, and culture of each country.
In order to give guidance and achieve results in advance of the April 2008 North American leaders’ Summit, we have reviewed progress achieved since Montebello and have directed officials to:
- Competitiveness: Continue to implement the strategy to combat piracy and counterfeiting, and build on the Regulatory Cooperation Framework by pursuing collaboration through sectoral initiatives, with an emphasis on the automotive sector;
- Safe Food & Products: Strengthen cooperation to better identify, assess and manage unsafe food and products before they enter North America, and collaborate to promote the compatibility of our related regulatory and inspection regimes;
- Energy and Environment: Develop projects under the newly signed Agreement on Science and Technology; and cooperate on moving new technologies to the marketplace, auto fuel efficiency and energy efficiency standards ;
- Smart & Secure Borders: Strengthen cooperation protocols and create new mechanisms to secure our common borders while facilitating legitimate travel and trade in the North American region ;
- Emergency Management and Preparedness: Strengthen emergency management cooperation capacity in the North American region before, during and after disasters.
We also instructed officials to consider innovative ways to advance these five priorities, to enhance our dialogue and further our cooperation.
We recognize the work of our colleagues from the various agencies and departments that have contributed and will continue to contribute to advancing bilateral and trilateral cooperation.
We acknowledge the challenges that transnational crime poses to our region and our assessment indicates that some accomplishments have been made. Nevertheless, we need to improve and strengthen our cooperative bilateral and trilateral mechanisms in order to identify innovative and committed solutions to eliminate those threats and assure the well being and prosperity of our people.
We will also explore new avenues of cooperation and convergence to address issues such as arms trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, counterfeiting, trafficking of people and smuggling, and border violence.
We also met with representatives of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), whose contributions and advice in building a more prosperous and dynamic North America have been invaluable. We discussed the long-term challenges facing our three countries and how best to increase security and prosperity in North America, in order to make our region the best place to live, work and do business. Accordingly, we reiterate our interest in maintaining an open dialogue with business leaders and other stakeholders.
We reaffirm our commitment to the objectives of the SPP. We are convinced that greater cooperation and coordination will bring benefits to our countries. As we prepare for the next leaders` Summit in New Orleans, we will continue to work together to ensure progress in the priority areas identified at Montebello and other areas where there is ongoing work.