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 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.

Safe Food and Products

We will seek to strengthen the existing cooperation and mechanisms within the region, build on current standards and practices, and work with our trading partners outside North America using a scientific risk-based approach to identify and stop unsafe food and products before they enter our countries. These efforts could include: working with authorities to strengthen inspection and certification in exporting countries; identifying best practices by importers in selecting foreign manufacturers and inspecting goods either before export or before distribution; and reviewing our own existing authorities and practices to enhance national, regional and local coordination. Our governments will continue to address the safety of food and products imported into North America , while facilitating the significant trade in these products that our countries already have and without imposing unnecessary barriers to trade.

Sustainable Energy and the Environment

The further development of clean and sustainable energy is critical to reduce the effects of climate change and air pollution, while fuelling the North American economy. We support an integrated approach to climate change, energy security and economic development, and support the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. Cooperation among our major economies on a range of policy tools and sectoral approaches will advance these objectives. In particular, we ask our ministers to explore ways to cooperate on national auto fuel efficiency standards. We also ask our ministers to develop projects under the newly signed energy science and technology agreement, cooperate on moving new technologies to the marketplace and collaborate on energy efficiency.

Smart and Secure Borders

Our borders must be both efficient and secure if we are to continue to enhance prosperity, security and quality of life in North America . Effective border strategies minimize security risks, while facilitating the efficient and safe movement of goods, services and people, as trade and cross-border travel increase in North America . These strategies will draw on risk-based border management, innovative use of new technologies, coordinated border infrastructure development, and by moving, where possible, inspection and screening away from the land border. It is sometimes best to screen goods and travellers prior to entry into North America . We ask our ministers to develop mutually acceptable inspection protocols to detect threats to our security, such as from incoming travellers during a pandemic and from radiological devices on general aviation. We also ask our ministers to further cooperate in law enforcement, screening and facilitation of legitimate trade and travellers across our borders.

Emergency Management and Preparedness

The consequences of catastrophic events often transcend national borders. Preparation and planning can mitigate the impact of such events on people and our economies. Much work has been undertaken between our countries at national, sub-national and local levels to develop common approaches for responding to major incidents. We ask our ministers to continue this work and to address any obstacles preventing critical equipment, supplies and personnel from being deployed expeditiously to those parts of North America where they are needed. We also ask them to develop procedures for managing the movement of goods and people across our shared borders during and following an emergency.

The SPP is focussed on the well-being of North America , but we also share a desire to work together to advance prosperity, security and stability globally. In Montebello, therefore, we also discussed opportunities to cooperate globally and within our own hemisphere. We ask foreign ministers to enhance dialogue and cooperation in North America , as well as in the hemisphere in such areas as emergency management and preparedness, and disaster risk reduction. Our shared values will continue to guide our collaboration as continental neighbours and global allies in the future.

Prime Minister Harper and President Calderon were pleased to accept the proposal of President Bush for the United States to host the next meeting of North American leaders in 2008.

SECURITY AND PROSPERITY PARTNERSHIP OF NORTH AMERICA:

NEXT STEPS

We, the leaders of North America , have asked our ministers to pursue the following priority activities and ask them to report to us on their progress in one year:

Enhancing the Global Competitiveness of North America

Global markets are changing, with dynamic new players becoming more competitive and innovative. More and more firms are relying on inputs from a wide range of international sources for their manufacturing and production processes. In this highly competitive environment, compatible regulations and standards enable us to protect health, safety and the environment, as well as to facilitate trade in goods and services across our borders. Strong copyright and piracy protection also encourage entrepreneurship and protect our citizens. Over the coming year, we ask our ministers to strengthen North America as a platform for global success and to achieve progress on regulatory cooperation and the protection of intellectual property. In particular, we ask our ministers to implement:

Safe Food and Products

Sustainable Energy and the Environment

Smart and Secure Borders

Our three countries have a long history of cooperative border management, predicated on the understanding that our prosperity and security depend on borders that operate efficiently and effectively under all circumstances. In some cases, the best time to screen travellers and commerce is before they enter North America . Coordinated, mutually acceptable procedures for detecting threats far from our borders are a means to do this. Recognizing differences in legal frameworks and policies, and noting the positive effect on our common security of current information sharing initiatives, we will seek to enhance our cooperation in this respect.

Emergency Management and Preparedness

Neighbours help each other in times of distress. Our governments have worked together to address how we might better prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters -- either natural or man-made -- by developing a common approach to all aspects of emergency management. We ask our ministers to continue this work and specifically to:

THE SECURITY AND PROSPERITY PARTNERSHIP OF NORTH AMERICA:

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS SINCE MARCH 2006

SOURCE White House Press Office



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