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Economic Prosperity – Trade and Competitiveness

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Today, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, discussed ways to advance trade and competitiveness, because an efficient North American economy is vital for creating good-paying, middle class jobs for our citizens.

Canada, the United States, and Mexico are natural partners in North America – one of the most successful economic regions in the world. We will build upon this strong trilateral economic relationship, and further facilitate trade among our three countries, and improve the networks that allow us to produce products and services together.

Since the entry into force of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the North American economy has become an integrated production platform that maximizes our capabilities and makes our economies more innovative and competitive. While the majority of Canada’s trade is with the United States, trade and investment with Mexico – our third largest trading partner – continues to grow. Expanding regional and continental supply chains have opened new global export opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs and small businesses.

The three leaders strongly support regional economic co-operation as a ‎means to promote shared prosperity, create jobs, enhance North American industrial and agricultural production, and protect workers and the environment. Recognizing that the Trans-Pacific Partnership aims to advance these objectives, we will continue to work diligently to complete our respective domestic processes.

The 2016 North American Competitiveness Work Plan

To compete globally, Canada, the United States and Mexico must ensure that trade and investment flows within the continent are taking place in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Supply chain efficiency is important for all sectors, but particularly for new and emerging technologies in areas like clean energy and environmental technology.

To help meet these goals, the leaders of the three countries today launched the 2016 North American Competitiveness Work Plan. This blueprint for action will facilitate partnerships through fourteen new initiatives that will reduce costs for business, improve supply chain efficiency, advance innovation and economic development, and engage stakeholders through consultation and outreach.

In addition, they agreed to further engage civil society and the business community, in promoting the continued growth and prosperity of North America as an integrated economic community. The United States will host the first annual Stakeholder Dialogue on North American Competiveness this fall in Washington, D.C.

North American Cluster/Asset Mapping

Canada, the United States, and Mexico agreed to promote cluster asset mapping, an activity that helps policymakers, businesses, and other stakeholders gain a solid understanding of a region’s economic strengths and opportunities. These maps identify clusters of interconnected companies, suppliers, and institutions, helping businesses to expand their labour and supply chains while supporting efforts by local governments and economic development agencies to build and attract new industries.

Canada has officially announced its intention to develop a National Cluster Mapping Portal.

Women Entrepreneurship

Women are critical to our shared economic prosperity and competitiveness. Recognizing this, leaders agreed to further strengthen North American women’s entrepreneurship by:

  • signing a trilateral memorandum of understanding promoting women’s entrepreneurship and the growth of women-owned enterprises in North America. Activities will include: facilitating women’s access to global value chains and participation in international trade; promoting partnerships; bolstering mentoring relationships; and facilitating networking and information sharing. The three countries are pursuing these joint activities under the umbrella of the subcommittee on Women’s Entrepreneurship of the Mexico-United States Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council which Canada joined in 2015;
  • sending representatives to the 2016 Women’s Business Centers Leadership Conference, presented by the U.S. Association of Women's Business Centers, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to share best practices and foster new partnerships; and
  • sponsoring a Canadian and American business women trade mission to Mexico as early as 2016-2017.

In addition, Canada organized the first Women in Business: North America Summit which was recently held in Atlanta, Georgia, from June 15 to 17, 2016.

Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Canada will host the 6th Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE) from September 25 to October 1, 2016. This event, organized by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Organization of American States, will bring together key officials from across the hemisphere and beyond to learn how Canada supports a world-class innovation ecosystem of incubators and accelerators, universities, research facilities, and firms to compete globally.

The upcoming ACE will be centred in Southern Ontario, including site visits in Toronto, the “Quantum Valley” of Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and the Niagara Region. Canada, the United States, and Mexico are committed to continued North American leadership in the ACE, to share best practices and innovative approaches to entrepreneurship, build networks and partnerships, and foster regional competitiveness. The three countries will encourage robust participation by women leaders for this edition of the ACE.

Cybersecurity Collaboration with the Commercial Sector

Cybersecurity threats are evolving as rapidly as the Internet expands, and the associated risks are becoming increasingly global. Staying protected against such threats will require all businesses, to be aware of the risks, be innovative in their approach in addressing the challenges, and to improve their cyber security practices.

To help businesses address these challenges, the leaders agreed to:

  • support international engagement in cybersecurity, identify and explore opportunities to exchange information on sector compatibility with existing and developing standards, and facilitate cooperation amongst stakeholders.
  • host an industry summit in Washington on cybersecurity in North America in late September to kick off Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The Summit will facilitate dialogue between governments and business communities on cybersecurity priorities and provide an opportunity to share their experiences and best practices.

Workforce Development

Canada, the United States, and Mexico collaborated with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to develop a joint report that portrays the state of the North American labour market. The report outlines common trends, current and emerging challenges, potential policy responses, and prospects for the three countries. This report will support trilateral cooperation, build a stronger foundation for future engagement and discussions on employment and workforce development, and contribute to North American competitiveness.

Coordination in Trade Remedy Enforcement / Addressing Global Excess Capacity

Canada, the United States and Mexico agree on the need for governments of all major steel-producing countries to make strong and immediate commitments to address the problem of global excess steelmaking capacity. This includes curtailing government subsidies and other supports that artificially maintain or increase steelmaking capacity, enhancing transparency and information sharing about capacity and production developments, and seeking robust policy commitments to address excess capacity and encourage adjustment.

The three countries further recognize the critical need for customs agencies to work together to ensure robust trade enforcement, including increased information sharing on high-risk shipments and on broader trends concerning potential circumvention and evasion. For this purpose, Canada, the United States, and Mexico have will establish a trilateral Customs Steel Enforcement Dialogue, designed to facilitate coordinated compliance efforts and information sharing regarding the enforcement of anti-dumping and countervailing measures on steel products.

This trilateral dialogue builds upon existing bilateral initiatives between Canada and the United States and will take place in conjunction with meetings of the North American Steel Trade Committee. It will be an important step towards ensuring that importers of potentially dumped and subsidized steel are compliant with all regulatory requirements and pay all duties owing, thereby protecting the North American steel industry from the injury caused by the dumping and subsidizing of imported goods into the North American marketplace.