Interview: Justin Trudeau
What are the key areas of bilateral cooperation enshrined in the Canada-Mexico Partnership?
JUSTIN TRUDEAU: In 2019 Canada and Mexico are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations. In that time, Mexico has become one of our most valued partners in the western hemisphere. Trade is an important part of our relationship, and we have long-championed free trade agreements (FTAs) that create jobs and strengthen the middle classes in both of our countries. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) do just that, and offer new opportunities to Canadians and Mexicans alike.
The Canada-Mexico relationship is more than just trade. We are also partners on regional and global challenges, such as addressing irregular migration, countering organised crime, combatting climate change and strengthening international institutions, standards and rules. In the fight against climate change, our countries continue to step up, and we continue to look for new ways to work together to protect the environment.
In 2018 I had the chance to meet with key secretaries from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration in Mexico We are united in our commitment to keeping North America’s economy competitive, and to collaborating even more closely on energy, agriculture and the environment. Moreover, Canada stands behind the president’s priorities to reduce poverty, tackle corruption, and address rising security issues in Mexico.
To what extent is the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) an improvement from NAFTA?
TRUDEAU: In negotiating a new NAFTA, Canada and Mexico shared a vision: to preserve the benefits of the original agreement, while updating it to reflect the realities of trade in the 21st century. By and large, we succeeded. The new NAFTA will benefit businesses across North America and create good, middle-class jobs for Canadians, Mexicans and Americans alike. It will also improve wages and labour rights for Mexicans and level the playing field for US and Canadian workers.
The USMCA is good for the environment, with strong, enforceable standards for clean air and water. It is positive for indigenous communities, with language that recognises their unique roles in protecting the environment. It is also an important step forwards for the rights of women and minorities, with a modernised labour chapter that contains some of the toughest measures in any Canadian FTA to date.
Throughout the USMCA, updates to the agreement will help incentivise higher wages and better working conditions in all three countries. Meanwhile, the nine new chapters will go a long way towards addressing commercial issues like digital trade, anti-corruption and good regulatory practices. Mexico is Canada’s third-largest trading partner in large part because of the original NAFTA. The USMCA stands to deepen our economic relationship, make us more globally competitive and create new opportunities in both our countries.
How can the CPTPP help to advance the goals of Canada and Mexico vis-à-vis the Asia Pacific?
TRUDEAU: Both Canada and Mexico have FTAs with more than 45 countries, and we are always exploring opportunities to create new ones, such as those with the Pacific Alliance. FTAs harness the interdependence that has become an overwhelming fact in our lives. They level the playing field and push us in the right direction, towards strengthening international rules and norms, building consensus across differences and creating growth that benefits all of our citizens, not just the elite.
In that vein, the CPTPP offers an unprecedented chance for Canada and Mexico to deepen our partnerships with the Asia Pacific, which will create good, middle-class jobs on both sides of the ocean. The FTA will also create opportunities for collaboration on global goals like fighting climate change, advancing gender equality and building a more secure and peaceful world.
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