WASHINGTON, April 4, 2012 – Trade officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico reflected on the increase in trade from 1993 to 2011, when trade among the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries more than tripled, from $288 billion to $1 trillion.
Ambassador Ron Kirk, United States Trade Representative; the Honorable Edward Fast, Canada’s Minister of International Trade; and Bruno Ferrari, Mexico’s Secretary of the Economy, held the April 3, 2012 meeting of the NAFTA Free Trade Commission (FTC), in Washington, DC.
“As we share in the NAFTA’s ongoing benefits, today, we agree on actions to expand trade and investment, reduce administrative costs, and thereby further strengthen North American competitiveness,” they said in their joint statement from the meeting.
The United States welcomed Canada’s and Mexico’s interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the meeting notes, stating that the TPP “provides an opportunity to further deepen our trade relationship and create jobs.”
The joint statement also discussed the Working Group on Rules of Origin (WGRO), which has reached agreement on a fourth set of changes to the NAFTA rules of origin that “will further facilitate the free trade among our countries.”
Annual trilateral trade in these goods is approximately $135 billion and the leaders agreed to each “undertake our respective domestic procedures for consultation in order to implement these changes as quickly as possible.”
The three leaders also agreed to “introduce timely and tangible regulatory measures to enable innovation and growth while ensuring high standards of public health, safety, and environmental protection.”
The United States, Mexico and Canada engage in regulatory cooperation through two bilateral mechanisms and the joint statement expressed intentions to continue to contribute meaningfully to both the bilateral and trilateral initiatives, with a view towards facilitating trade and reducing unnecessary administrative costs.
The leaders said the G20 Trade Ministerial conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on the 19th and 20th of April will address their concern with recent expressions of trade protectionism in some parts of the world, “which can affect trade flows and have an impact on growth and employment.”
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