Baird Concludes Successful Visit to Mexico

February 14, 2013 - Mexico City - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement as he concluded his second bilateral visit to Mexico:

“Canada and Mexico are close friends and neighbours and have a long-standing strategic partnership in North America, in the hemisphere and in the world. I was pleased to have a brief discussion over lunch with President Peña Nieto, following on our excellent exchanges last year at Davos and in Ottawa.

“Secretary Meade and I also had a productive discussion on how our two countries can build on past successes to take our partnership to the next level while creating jobs and growth in both countries. [Download Video Quote]

“The North American Free Trade Agreement has proven there is an immense value in knocking down barriers to trade. Secretary Meade and I agree that increased trade and collaboration can yield even more economic opportunities in the region and beyond, particularly through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Pacific Alliance.

“To that end, I highlighted our government’s recent efforts to facilitate legitimate trade and travel. I am also pleased that nearly 60 percent of all visitor visas now being issued to Mexicans permit visitors to enter Canada multiple times without having to reapply for a visa.

“I spoke of Canadian energy expertise and our government’s commitment to responsible resource development. I highlighted the need to continue our joint efforts to tackle security issues affecting both our countries and, specifically, the fight against international drug trafficking, human smuggling and transnational organized crime.”

While in Mexico, Baird also had an opportunity to exchange views with several Canadian private-sector representatives working in that country.

The Minister’s visit builds on the momentum established by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s meeting with then president-elect Enrique Peña Nieto in Ottawa in November 2012.

On February 14, 2013, Canada added Mexico to the list of designated countries of origin—countries that offer state protection, have active human rights and civil society organizations, and do not normally produce refugees.

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A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder – Canada-Mexico Bilateral Arrangements

Canada-Mexico Partnership

The Canada-Mexico Partnership is a unique bilateral mechanism that brings together public and private stakeholders to develop concrete initiatives in a wide range of areas of relevance to Canada and Mexico. It focuses on economic cooperation, although its scope has expanded in recent years to include related fields such as environmental cooperation, human capital and housing.

Canada-Mexico Joint Action Plan

The Canada-Mexico Joint Action Plan is a bilateral framework that outlines the broad extent of the two countries’ multifaceted relationship by providing structure and scope. The latest action plan for 2010-12 listed four pillars of engagement: Fostering competitive and sustainable economies; protecting our citizens; enhancing people-to-people contacts; and projecting our partnership globally and regionally.

Canada-Mexico Relations Since NAFTA

In the 20 years since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Mexico has increased more than sixfold, rising from $4.5 billion in 1993 to nearly $30.9 billion in 2012. Mexico is now Canada’s third-largest partner in two-way trade and fifth-largest export market. Canada is the fourth-largest investor to Mexico, with investment stocks totalling $4.2 billion in 2011.

Canada-Mexico Consular Rapid Response Mechanism

In August 2007, the governments of Canada and Mexico established the Canada–Mexico Consular Rapid Response Mechanism. The goal of this mechanism is to strengthen communication and coordination between diplomatic and consular officials and Mexican authorities at the federal and state levels. Mexico is the top sun travel destination among Canadians, with approximately 1.8 million Canadians visiting Mexico annually and more than 70,000 Canadians residing there.

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