Joint Statement of Prime Minister Harper, President Bush and President Calderon at the North American Leaders' Summit

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a joint statement from Prime Minister Harper, President Bush and President Calderon: Montebello, Quebec , Canada We, the leaders of Canada , Mexico and the...

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a joint statement from Prime Minister Harper, President Bush and President Calderon:

Montebello, Quebec , Canada

We, the leaders of Canada , Mexico and the United States , have met in Montebello to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing North America and to establish priorities for our further collaboration. As neighbours, we share a commitment to ensure North America remains a safe, secure and economically dynamic region, and a competitive player in global markets. We also discussed opportunities to cooperate globally and within our own hemisphere. The values and principles we share, in particular democracy, the rule of law and respect for individual rights and freedoms, underpin our efforts in building a more prosperous and secure region.

The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), launched in 2005, is aimed at jointly achieving tangible results across a spectrum of areas, while respecting each nation's sovereignty. On February 23, 2007 , our ministers responsible for the SPP met in Ottawa to review progress and discuss our further cooperation. Our ministers of industry and commerce, foreign affairs, security, environment, energy, health, transportation and trade have also met in recent months, reflecting our deepening dialogue within North America . They have made progress in advancing the priorities we identified at our 2006 meeting in Cancun. In particular, our three countries have completed:

In Montebello, we have discussed how we can build on our progress to date to further improve North America's position in the world. The North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), announced last year in Cancun, has provided us with thoughtful recommendations on how we could strengthen the competitive platform for businesses. We welcome the NACC's recommendations, including its readiness to be part of the solution, and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with the NACC in furthering North America's competitiveness. We ask that our ministers continue to seek input from interested parties in determining future priorities for increasing the security, prosperity and quality of life in North America . In this, the third year of the SPP, we direct our ministers to review the SPP process, focus on priorities and deliver results.

We ask our ministers to focus their collaboration in five priority areas for the next year:

Enhancing the Global Competitiveness of North America

The North American Free Trade Agreement has been a tremendous mutual success in strengthening our economies and in enhancing the competitiveness of North America . In a rapidly changing global economy, we must build on NAFTA's success and reduce unnecessary trade barriers to ensure North America remains a competitive and a dynamic place to do business. To this end, the Regulatory Cooperation Framework will enable us to develop regulatory approaches that are compatible across our borders, while maintaining high standards of health, safety and environmental protection. In the coming year, we ask our ministers to consider work in areas, such as the chemicals, automotive, transportation, and information and communications technology sectors. The Intellectual Property Action Strategy also gives us an invaluable tool for combating counterfeiting and piracy, which undermine innovation, harm economic development and can have negative public-health and safety implications. We also ask our ministers to implement the Strategy and take concrete steps to strengthen our ability to combat counterfeiting and piracy in North America .

We are strongly committed to advancing multilateral trade liberalization through a successful, comprehensive and ambitious conclusion to the WTO Doha Round of negotiations. We endorse the work of our trade ministers in Vancouver on June 13-14, 2007, to build on NAFTA's success and advance our shared interests in the Doha Round. We ask them to renew their efforts, working with their WTO colleagues, to achieve a balanced outcome that results in meaningful increases in trade in goods and services and improvements in global trading conditions.

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