- This past Thursday, Prime Minister Trudeau, US President Biden, and Mexican President López Obrador met in Washington, D.C. for the first time in five years at the North American Leaders’ Summit.
- The outcome has important implications for Canadian business in the future.
Intending to reinvigorate trilateral cooperation in the framework of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement (CUSMA), which governs approximately US$1.5 trillion in North American trade each year, the three leaders spoke positively in public statements about their shared interest in an open and competitive North American economy, depends on bilateral also trilateral areas of agreement on promoting commercial, environmental. As well as infrastructure interests and their sh The Prime Minister held separate bilateral meetings with each of his counterparts and discussions with Congressional representatives.
More specifically, leaders agreed to:
- form a trilateral working group to address regional supply chain issues, including a steady supply of critical minerals, building on an existing US-Mexico table and Canada-US bilateral work under the “Roadmap” agreed in Trudeau’s first (virtual) meeting with President Biden;
- create a North American methane reduction strategy;
- Imports of goods made with forced labour are prohibited (in light of China’s reported abuse of the Uyghur population in western Xinjiang;
- reactivate a North American working group on violence against Indigenous women and girls, which was established in 2016 by Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama; as well as provide COVID-19 vaccines to Latin America and the Caribbean
Bilaterally, the Prime Minister also President Biden agreed to:
- Review the implementation of the bilateral Roadmap for a Renewed US-Canada Partnership, which was launched in February
- promote innovation insensitive and emerging technologies (including artificial intelligence and quantum computing), as well as shaping global digital policies and governance
- negotiate a bilateral Science, Technology, and Innovation Agreement in 2022
- establish an Indo-Pacific Strategic Dialogue to promote regional security, the rule of law, and good governance.
Third, to the extent that the Summit was intended to convey a common cause in increased North American competitiveness in the face of China, the prospect of increased restrictions on sourcing Chinese inputs in high technology or related products cannot be discounted.
As advocates for an open, integrated North American industrial base, Canadian businesses and government must remain proactive with suppliers and customers in the United States. In addition, supporting free trade within Canada and more actively pursuing opportunities under Canada’s trade treaties in Europe, Asia, and the Americas can boost competitiveness.
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