June 14, 2017
Ottawa – Canada should strengthen its ties with Mexico despite the current context of uncertainty related to the North American trilateral relationship, opportunities for a more strategic and meaningful engagement continue to exist, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade said in a report released today.
The report, North American Neighbours: Canada and Mexico Cooperation in Uncertain Times, calls for the two countries to build on their already solid relationship, particularly as the United States signals changes in its approach toward Mexico and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While the relationship between Canada and Mexico is positive and continues to deepen, the Committee maintains that there is room for Canada and Mexico to engage further bilaterally.
The committee’s report expands on its 2015 study. North American Neighbours: Maximizing Opportunities and Strengthening Cooperation for a More Prosperous Future, that concluded the North American relationship is of primary importance to Canada even if it has yet to reach its full potential for economic, trade and political co-operation. The committee decided to reassess Canada’s relationship with Mexico following the November 2016 American presidential election.
Strategically engaging with Mexico, while continuing to nurture Canada’s ties with the United States, should be the basis of Canada’s plan for managing foreign relations within North America.
Through NAFTA, the economies of all three partners have become more productive at a time when each is facing strong global competition.
Cooperation between Canada and Mexico involves areas beyond trade. Even though the two countries do not share a border, they have worked together on issues of regional security, human and drug trafficking, human rights, good governance and management of health pandemics. In the 2015 report, the committee called on the government to lift the visa requirement for Mexican travelers to Canada. The decision to remove the visa requirement in December, 2016, demonstrates Canada’s ongoing commitment to maintaining good relations with Mexico with hopes of facilitating trade, business opportunities and encouraging tourism to Canada.
- Trade between Canada and Mexico is worth $38 billion a year.
- The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been in place since 1994.
- Mexico’s reform of its oil and gas sector could attract US$50 billion in foreign investment — something Global Affairs Canada calls a “historic opportunity” for Canadian companies.
“We are all aware that the new American administration has signalled a shift in policy with respect to its relationship with Mexico. Regardless of what policy changes the United States might initiate, it remains in Canada’s best interest to continue to engage strategically with Mexico.”
– Senator Raynell Andreychuk, Chair of the committee
“Uncertainty surrounds the relationship between the United States and Mexico, but Canada understands the importance of maintaining good ties with both of these valued partners. Canada has benefited from a 23-year trade partnership with Mexico and the United States, and should continue its co-operation with both countries.”
– Senator Percy E. Downe, Deputy Chair of the committee
- North American Neighbours: Maximizing Opportunities and Strengthening Cooperation for a More Prosperous Future (June 2015).
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