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Last week, the President of Mexico, the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada, met in what's been dubbed the, "Three Amigos" summit that took place in Toluca, Mexico. This year marks the 20th year since NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) went into effect and poised an opportune time for the leaders of North America to revisit their shared goals of strengthening cross border business and relations.

The White House issued a press release following the day of talks highlighting key deliverables the leaders agreed on, including "Concrete initiatives by the three countries aimed at enhancing our competitiveness in the global economy, expanding opportunities for our citizens, and promoting peace, security, and development through multilateral action." Some of the initiatives in highlighted by the key deliverables included:

  • Creating a North American Trusted Traveler Program, allowing vetted individuals to travel more easily between our three countries.
  • Harmonizing trade data, consistent with international standards, to make it easier for companies to do business in our three countries.
  • Creating a North American Transportation Plan, starting with freight planning
  • Strengthening trilateral regulatory cooperation in order to ease burdens on business.
  • Creating a Trilateral Research, Development and Innovation Council, encouraging opportunities for North American leadership and a trilateral network of entrepreneurs, as well as economic development efforts in highly integrated regions, like the Pacific Northwest Economic Region and the Cali Baja Mega Region
  • Increasing educational exchanges and promoting skills for a 21st century workforce
  • Declaring North American adherence to high standards in fuel quality, emissions standards, and fuel efficiency for heavy-duty vehicles
  • Increasing trilateral cooperation to combat importation of counterfeit products

Enrique Esparza, CEO of Co-Production International, a shelter services and site selection firm located in San Diego, was recently appointed President of the Tijuana Economic Development Corporation (Tijuana EDC/DEITAC). Just following the summit, Esparza praised the work of the leaders and of industry efforts in the region.

"From being number one in the world for flat screen television production to becoming a growing cluster for aerospace manufacturing, the Cali-Baja Region is a perfect example of the success of NAFTA over the last twenty years. For example, Mexico's highly skilled workforce is now 14.6% less expensive than its overseas competitor, China. When you additionally consider the pro-business trade agreements with our North American partners and the stones-throw proximity to each other, we are noticing more and more executives are putting North American countries like Mexico on their short list for expanding manufacturing operations"

Mexico's President Pena Nieto said the Summit aimed to make North America, "the most competitive in the region." With a twenty year case history, NAFTA has already proven that collaborative efforts to drive trade and business have contributed to notable economic growth between the three nations. In a joint statement issued by the three leaders following the Summit, they noted the success of NAFTA and its impact on their regional economies, stating,

"we generate close to 30 percent of global goods and services. Our trade is at least 265 percent larger than twenty years ago, when the North American Free Trade Agreement came into force, and is now worth more than one trillion dollars per year, while investment within the region has been multiplied by six."

By Co-Production International

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