What Brookings Scholars are Saying about the Mexico-U.S.-Canada Leaders Summit

When President Obama meets this week with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts—President Enrique Peña Nieto and Prime Minister Stephen Harper—he will have, according to news reports, four agenda items: trade, education, border security and stopping drug trafficking. Here is some of what Brookings experts have said and are saying about the issues at this leaders summit.

Diana Villiers Negroponte writes that “It is time for the private sector and civil society to educate and persuade political leaders on the need for broader integration in trade, investment and energy within a North American production platform.”

Four Brookings experts recently conducted a conversation on the summit:

  • Arturo Sarukhan notes the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, stating that “it’s a good time to take stock of how NAFTA has and has not worked and sort of what are the opportunities and challenges ahead of us.”
  • Alan Berube noted how much of what the three countries trade ends up in a metropolitan area, so “for the three leaders a question is how to strengthen the position of cities and regions in trade in order to boost the competitiveness of North America in the global economy.”
  • Joshua Meltzer also emphasized the centrality of NAFTA, but also pointed to infrastructure and immigration as important issues.
  • Finally, Vanda Felbab-Brown discussed U.S.-Mexico cooperation on security issues, which she says “continues to be unresolved.” 

In a November report, Berube and Joseph Parilla described production and trade among North America’s cities and metro areas, showing linkages between and among metro areas across the United States, Mexico and Canada. The chart below demonstrates the 2011 trade of the United States with its two North American neighbors.


The Latin America Initiative and the Energy Security Initiative recently co-hosted an event on the future of energy reform in Mexico. Negroponte called the slate of reforms in Mexico’s energy sector “a paradigm shift for Mexico.”

Also see what Berube and Parilla wrote about strengthening NAFTA’s next 20 years.


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