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Negotiating North America: The Security and ... - Hudson Institute

Negotiating North America: The Security and ... - Hudson Institute

Negotiating North America: The Security and Prosperity Partnership Summer 2007became negotiating sessions between administrationofficials and members of Congress after anagreement was complete, but before implementinglegislation was sent to Capitol Hill, about thelegislation that would finally be introduced. 25What is interesting about this in the context of theSPP is that whereas the previous three decades ofU.S. trade policy formulation had featured growinglevels of private and Congressional consultation, theSPP as it emerged from Waco in 2005 did not factorin formal special interest input or a role of Congress.At Cancún, the three leaders pronounced themselvespleased with the progress made by officials on the―early harvest‖ items in the first year of the SPP. 26The Cancún communiqué reaffirmed commitments tocooperatively addressing emergency managementissues, preparing contingencies for outbreaks of avianinfluenza, collaboration on energy security, and morework on securing borders. However, at Cancún,tangible progress on the SPP agenda was difficult toassess. Even when the August 2006 Report toLeaders was released, the overwhelming majority ofagenda items had either been ―initiated‖ or were ―ontrack.‖ 27 As with the 2005 Report to Leaders, thenear-term accomplishments of the SPP in the August2006 Report to Leaders were again items that werearguably part of a process of bilateral or trilateralcooperation that pre-dated the SPP. 28 In addition,most of the accomplishments were conspicuouslybilateral in a Canada-U.S. context. For example, theReport to Leaders announced the completion of aCanada-U.S. Integrated Border Enforcement Team(IBET) threat assessment, the exchange of threatassessment methodologies to protect criticalinfrastructure in the food and agriculture sectors, andjoint work to bring security improvements to aircargo services. 29Slower-than-hoped progress on the larger items onthe agenda during that period led to a discussionamong Bush, Harper, and Fox on how to increase themomentum behind the effort. For the United States,this meant somehow engaging support from theprivate sector. Mexico was concerned that the SPPseemed a poor substitute for the North Americanvision that Fox had articulated at the start of hispresidential term, and wanted to see the SPPpresented in terms of a positive step toward a brightfuture for North American relations that wouldredeem this part of his legacy.The Cancún summit provided an opportunity torevisit the structure of the SPP to address the leaders‘concerns. To that end, the leaders called for theestablishment of the North AmericanCompetitiveness Council as a private sector forumfor business input and consultation with the SPPworking groups.The North American Competitiveness Council(NACC) was formed in direct response an organizedprivate sector effort at outreach that originated in theUnited States. In early January 2006, United ParcelService, the Council of the Americas, and the NorthAmerican Business Committee convened a series ofmeetings to open a public-private dialogue on theSPP. 30 In March 2006, the Council of the Americasand the U.S. Chamber of Commerce invited leadersfrom all three countries, including CommerceSecretary, Carlos Gutierrez, to discuss ways thebusiness community could be involved in creating amore competitive economic space in NorthAmerica. 31 Anti-trade critics point to the NACC as anexample of business interests having an excessiveinfluence on the direction of North Americanintegration. 32 Yet, a more plausible explanation isthat the SPP as a trilateral process for dealing withH U D S O N I N S T I T U T E Page 21

Negotiating North America: The Security and Prosperity Partnership Summer 2007economics and security had become paralyzed by itsscope and lack of stakeholder input.The NACC was organized in three national sections.In the United States, the U.S. Chamber of Commerceand the Council of the Americas collaborated informing the secretariat for the U.S. section of theNACC. Fifteen large U.S. companies active in NorthAmerican trade volunteered for membership in thegroup. 33 These companies sent representatives tomeetings of the NACC that they consideredappropriate to the subject matter, varying from seniorexecutives to Washington representatives andtechnical specialists for the firms. Supplementing thisgroup, the U.S. Chamber and the Council of theAmericas invited participation from a number ofbusiness associations to widen the representation forsmall and medium sized businesses and thosecompanies that were members of either the U.S.Chamber or the Council but chose not to become fullNACC members. The U.S. Chamber and the Councilinvited experts on trade, border policy, and NorthAmerican relations to participate in order to furtherbroaden the discussion. Participants not representingNACC member companies were designated―advisors‖ to the NACC.In Canada, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives(CCCE), a respected business lobby group, served asthe secretariat for the Canadian section of the NACC.Drawing on its membership, the CCCE drew topcorporate leaders (presidents of chief executiveofficers of their respective companies) toparticipate. 34 As with the U.S. section, the CCCEacting as the secretariat solicited input from otherCanadian business associations and organizations inorder to include the views of smaller businesses.While NACC‘s U.S. section was organized aroundmajor firms, and NACC‘s Canadian section wasorganized around prominent CEOs, the Mexicansection of the NACC took a hybrid approach,drawing participation from the individuals who ledlarge business associations and some who led largefirms – and some who did both. 35 The secretariat forthe Mexican section of the NACC was the InstitutoMexicano para la Competitividad – IMCO (whichtranslates as the Mexican Institute forCompetitiveness).The leaders‘ at Cancún asked the private sectormembership of the three sections of the NACC toundertake four tasks, and report back within twelvemonths: 36 Consider issues that could be addressed trilaterally orbilaterallyAddress issues of immediate importance, and providestrategic medium and long-term strategic advice.Provide input on the compatibility of the security andprosperity agendasOffer suggestions on the private sector‘s role inpromoting North American competitiveness.The mismatch among members of the three sectionsof the NACC placed considerable responsibility onthe secretariat organizations. In large part due to theirefforts to engage members and other private sectorvoices, and to their hard work in collaboration witheach other, the NACC deliberated and was able toproduce a consensus report for presentation to thecabinet-level SPP Ministerial group in February2007. 37 The NACC produced more than 50 consensusrecommendations, separating them into threecategories: priorities for 2007, those that should becompleted by 2008, and those that should becompleted by 2010. The recommendations for 2007,which the NACC members hoped would beaddressed by the time Bush, Harper and newMexican President Felipe Calderón met at the thirdNorth American Leaders‘ Summit, to be hosted byH U D S O N I N S T I T U T E Page 22

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