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5 Jun 2009

Leaders’ Summit: strengthening North American cooperation

Participants in the fifth Leaders’ Summit. Photo: Clément Allard

Participating heads of government from Mexico, the US and Canada pledged to strengthen their cooperation and make North America more competitive at the conclusion of the fifth Leaders’ Summit on North American Relations, chaired by Premier Jean Charest in Québec City on June 3.

During the Summit, which marked the 15th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), government leaders from the three signatory countries attended work sessions focusing on four main areas: the economic context and the financial crisis; North American integration: NAFTA’s track record and prospects; transportation and infrastructure; and energy and climate change. Each of these themes was addressed in the Summit Declaration.

In addition to Mr. Charest, participants included Manitoba Premier Gary Doer; New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham; Shawn Skinner, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development; Vermont Governor James Douglas; Iowa Governor Chet Culver; José Natividad González Parás, Governor of Nuevo León; Juan Manuel Oliva Ramírez, Governor of Guanajuato; Amalia García Media, Governor of Zacatecas; and the Economic Development Secretaries for Durango and Michoacán, Jorge A. Reynoso Martínez and Eloy Vargas Arreola.

“I firmly believe that subnational governments in North America can and should play a key role in strengthening North American cooperation. Over the past 15 years, NAFTA has become a major growth driver for all three of our countries. But the time has now come to rekindle our discussions on the basis of that agreement with a view to relaunching our economies amid the current crisis,” said Premier Charest.

Mr. Charest also took the opportunity to present the insignia of the Officer of the National Order of Québec to Nuevo León Governor José Natividad González Parás and to Mexico’s distinguished former ambassador Andrés Rozental, who spoke at the Summit. Both recipients have made outstanding contributions to forging closer ties between Québec and Mexico.

In conjunction with the Summit, the North American SuperCorridor Coalition (NASCO) Conference was held at Québec City’s convention centre from June 2-4, attracting approximately 300 specialists and decision makers. Topping the agenda were matters of trilateral interest, including North America’s main trade corridors, the challenges of globalization, intermodal transportation, the economy, technological innovations and the environment. This annual event is held on an alternating basis in Mexico, the US and Canada. The 2010 NASCO Conference will be held in Des Moines, Iowa.

Declaration of the fifth Leaders’ Summit on North American Relations
2009 NASCO Conference
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