Prime Minister Stephen Harper today met with Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, and Barack Obama, President of the United States, for the seventh North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS). Their discussions addressed a wide range of regional and global issues, with a particular focus on enhancing North American competitiveness in the 21st century. The leaders also underscored the importance of protecting their citizens from transnational crime and drugs, and re-committed to addressing insecurity and advancing freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the Americas.
Highlights of the meeting included commitments to:
- Develop a North American Competitiveness work plan focused on investment, innovation and increased private sector engagement;
- Develop a North American Transportation Plan, beginning with a regional freight plan, and the establishment of a North American Trusted Traveller Program in 2014, which will facilitate the movement of people;
- Develop our ability to foster innovation, provide our citizens with access to high quality educational opportunities and to technology, and promote a workforce with the skills needed for success in the 21st century global economy;
- Collaborate on disaster risk prevention and insurance, wildfire management, access to affordable and clean energy, and the promotion of sustainable social development; and,
- Continue to coordinate and pursue new areas of cooperation to counter drug trafficking, arms trafficking and other illicit trade, as well as cooperate with partners in Central America and the Caribbean, and with other countries in the hemisphere, to promote development, economic growth and citizen security.
In order to promote transparency, accountability and inclusiveness, the leaders asked officials to report on progress in implementing joint efforts before each NALS. They also asked them to develop a new outreach mechanism in 2014, through which experts and stakeholders will be able to share their perspectives on the agenda and activities.
The leaders also recognized the enormous benefits conferred by the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Finally, Prime Minister Harper committed to hosting the next North American Leaders’ Summit.
“Today, President Peña Nieto, President Obama and I agreed to move forward on a wide range of economic and social initiatives that will further strengthen and deepen the excellent trilateral relations our countries enjoy. In doing so, we will build a more secure and prosperous North America that will benefit all of our citizens.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper