The leaders of the United States, Mexico, and Canada say that their own country’s prosperity depends on that of their neighbors.
President George W. Bush, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper say that economic, environmental, and security challenges all require cooperative planning and open discussion among the nations of the Americas. Mr. Bush says the United States has a stake in the economic success of its neighbors:
"If you're a U.S. citizen, you want people that live close to you to be prosperous. The more prosperity there is in your neighborhood, the more hopeful your neighborhood is."
Trade, border security, immigration, and environmental issues and a North American Plan For Avian And Pandemic Influenza topped the agenda at the recent summit meeting. The plan outlines how Canada, Mexico, and the United States will work together to prepare for and manage outbreaks of highly pathogenic diseases.
Mr. Bush pointed to the increase in the value of annual trade among the U.S., Mexico, and Canada -- from some two-hundred ninety billion dollars to some eight-hundred eighty billion dollars over the last decade -- as evidence of successful cooperation. But, says President Calderon, more collaboration will be necessary to address concerns such as border security and globalization:
"There’s an enormous agenda that has to be developed. . . .so I believe that we must re-launch. . . .the strength of the relationship between the free countries of North America. . .and I believe that this meeting. . .could be the beginning of a new age in the framework of the relationship of the three countries."
Canadian Prime Minister Harper said that sovereign nations “are not isolated” by their sovereignty:
"We have shared problems…and we have to discuss these problems. . .We have to compare our strategies, and sometimes we have to work hand in hand."
The people of the Americas count on their leaders to develop common strategies that deliver results, said President Bush. “Working together,” he said, “that’s what our people expect us to do.”