(No. 311 - October 19, 2009 - 12:20 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today met with Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, and Gerardo Ruiz Mateos, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, in Dallas, Texas. During the meeting, the first time trade ministers of all three NAFTA countries have met since 2007, the three reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to the Agreement.
“Ambassador Kirk, Secretary Ruiz and I used this opportunity to discuss how we can make it easier to do business in North America,” said Minister Day. “In a world of increasing competition, we want to make North America even more competitive.”
This year marks the 15th anniversary of NAFTA, one of the world’s largest free trade areas. NAFTA has been a remarkable success story: since it came into effect, trilateral merchandise trade has almost tripled between Canada, the United States and Mexico, reaching $949 billion in 2008. The NAFTA countries represent 28 percent of world GDP.
In the joint statement released after their meeting, the ministers agreed to build on this record of success with new and creative ways of further promoting trade and business opportunities within the region. This included directing officials to develop a work plan that includes simplifying rules in place between the three NAFTA countries to make it easier for companies to do business.
“NAFTA remains the cornerstone of our global free trade agenda,” said Minister Day. “Our government is committed to removing barriers to the free movement of goods, services and capital in North America.”
While in Texas, the Minister also delivered an address to more than 100 members of the influential World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.
“In the global fight against protectionism, Canada is leading by example,” said Minister Day. “We are pursuing an aggressive free trade agenda in the Americas and with key established and emerging economies around the world.”
For more information about the NAFTA Free Trade Commission meeting, please see Minister Day Attends Trilateral NAFTA Meeting in Dallas.
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For further information, and high-resolution photographs of Minister Day’s visit to Texas, media representatives may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade
and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada