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Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the following remarks on the occasion of the visit to Canada by Enrique Peña Nieto, President-elect of Mexico:
"Mr. President Peña Nieto, allow me to begin by wishing you the warmest of welcomes on behalf of all Canadians.
"On behalf of the Government of Canada, and all Canadians, congratulations also for your recent victory in the presidential election of Mexico.
"We are delighted that, even before your forthcoming inauguration, you have chosen to visit your friends here in Canada.
"I hope that over time we will get to know each other very well.
"Certainly, our two countries share deep connections on many levels.
"As continental neighbours, we have enjoyed diplomatic relations for sixty-eight years.
"People-to-people links are strong and growing.
"Mexico is Canada's top sun-travel destination.
"Every year, nearly two million of us escape the rigours of our winter, to find relief in Mexico's benevolent climate.
"And, over the years, tens of thousands of Mexicans and their descendents have made their home here in Canada.
"Collaboration on hemispheric security has also become an important pillar in the relationship between our two countries.
"Within the Americas, Mexico is a strong defender of moderation and pragmatism.
"And I think I recall that we both made efforts to help Haiti after the earthquake that happened in that country nearly three years ago.
"However, over the past two decades, it is trade that has taken our countries' partnership to a truly new level.
"Bilateral trade between our countries has increased six-fold since the North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect.
"Under NAFTA, bilateral trade has surpassed thirty billion dollars, it did that last year.
"Indeed, Mexico has become Canada's fifth largest export market.
"Just as Canada has become Mexico's third largest trading partner.
"This rapid expansion of business, with the resulting economic growth and job creation in both of our countries, is instructive.
"Our countries' mutual experience speaks volumes as to the power of free trade as a general strategy for growth.
"It is also a testament to not only the particular wisdom of the North American Free Trade Agreement but also the understanding that trade agreements are a critical part of creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in countries like Canada and Mexico.
"Our two countries also share the democratic values that are so important to the well-being and the future of our citizens.
"Accordingly, our governments have worked together within major international organizations and forums.
"Our international cooperation extends to organizations as diverse as the G-20, the North American Leaders' Summit, the Summit of the Americas, APEC, the United Nations, and, most recently, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Pacific Alliance.
"It is my hope that we will build upon this solid foundation of multilateral work to spread democracy and human rights globally to deepen security in the hemisphere and to further reduce trade barriers and improve North-American competitiveness.
"Mr. Peña Nieto, the governments of Canada and Mexico are partners who have worked closely for many years.
"And I look forward to working with you as president in the years to come, as we pursue our mutual goals of growing employment and prosperity for our two great countries.
"And once again, welcome to Canada, we are delighted to have you here."