Posted: Wednesday, 21 November 2007
In March 2006, one year into the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), a tri-national committee of 30 chief executive officers (CEOs) from Canada, the United States and Mexico was formed by the Prime Minister and two Presidents to give advice on the priorities for the next stage of integration in North America. Almost a year later, after a process of consultation with other business leaders in each country, the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) released its recommendations to Ministers responsible for the SPP. In their February 2007 Report to Ministers, the NACC elaborated their priorities and issued 51 recommendations for “enhancing North America's competitive position in the world economy”. They seek first of all to improve “the secure flow of goods and people within North America”. Secondly, they want governments to “cut red tape”. Thirdly, they are working to protect the prosperity of the United States by ensuring a “secure supply of imported energy.”
The NACC commented on the progress made on the SPP in advance of the third annual meeting of the Presidents of Mexico and United States and the Canadian Prime Minister. This “Montebello Summit” took place in Quebec in August 2007.
It is vitally important to evaluate the impact on accountability and democracy of this new institutionalization of corporate interests in the governance within North America. Yet, this concern with process must be accompanied by a careful analysis of the content of what is being decided behind closed doors. Some of substantive work of the SPP can now be deciphered from agreements announced at the Montebello Summit. These include the North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza; Regulatory Cooperation Framework; Intellectual Property Rights Strategy; and the Agreement for Cooperation in Energy Science and Technology.
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