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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 2007will also have three chances to make the necessarychanges to sustain this dialogue on North Americaneconomic integration and trilateral securitycooperation. The first chance will be at Montebelloitself, where only President Bush remains of the threeleaders who launched the process at Waco. Thesecond opportunity will be next year, when Bush willhost the fourth summit and may take this opportunityto revisit the SPP and strengthen one of the mostsignificant foreign policy initiatives of his secondterm, and the legacy of his presidency in NorthAmerican affairs. The third and probably finalopportunity will come in 2009, at the start of the nextpresidential administration in the United States.Bush‘s successor will either renew the SPP, orabandon it.The close ties and growing linkages among the threeNorth American countries will necessitate that theSPP, or a successor initiative, foster negotiation aboutNorth America and its future among the governmentsof the United States and its neighbors. If the leadersfail to fix the SPP, or choose to scrap it, they willsoon find themselves replacing it with somethingsimilar in purpose, if not in design.II. THE EVOLUTION OF THE SPPOrigins of the Security andProsperity PartnershipBefore 2001 economic relations and securitycooperation among the United States, Canada andMexico were negotiated on separate tracks, oftenbilaterally. In the thirteen years since the NorthAmerican Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) tookeffect, economic integration among the three NAFTApartners has deepened, slowed only by the September11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.Security concerns arising from September 11 led torenewed, U.S.-led efforts to improve borderinfrastructure and security particularly on the longland borders with Canada and Mexico.Canada took the initiative on security following theSeptember 11 attacks, proposing a 30 point actionplan for improving border security and facilitatinglegitimate trade. The Canadian proposal waswelcomed by Washington and dubbed the SmartBorder Declaration and Action Plan in December2001. The United States subsequently signed on to asimilar 22 point Border Partnership Action Plan withMexico in January 2002. Security improvements atthe border, including new personnel, equipment, andphysical infrastructure caused serial adjustments toprivate sector supply chains, but economicintegration proceeded and trade among the threeNAFTA partners grew along with their respectiveeconomies from 2002 to 2004.Yet the attacks that took place on September 11,2001 highlighted the extent of North Americaneconomic integration just seven years after NAFTAtook effect and the vulnerability of integrated crossborderproduction to even brief disruptions in bordertraffic. Even more than delays, it was predictabilitythat mattered in the management of the logistics ofcomplicated supply chains. The September 11 attacksalso forced policymakers to consider that the largevolume of international trade shipments that flowedswiftly across U.S. borders could provide cover forfuture terrorist attacks. Weapons of mass destructionmight be delivered by car, truck, or shippingcontainer masked to look like legitimate cargo.The Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) ofNorth America is a trilateral process of negotiationsamong counterparts in the United States, Canada, andH U D S O N I N S T I T U T E Page 3

Negotiating North America: The Security and Prosperity Partnership Summer 2007Mexico that was designed in acknowledgement of theinterdependence of future economic gains fromcloser integration and collaboration in protectingcivilians from terrorism in North America. Launchedby President George W. Bush at the start of hissecond term, it represents an innovation in the waythat the three countries negotiate future cooperation.The SPP combines economic and security agendaitems under a single negotiation process, andinvolves dozens of regulators, rule makers, andofficials working with their counterparts in the othercountries on frequently technical matters concerningstandards, testing, and measurements. Previousnegotiations were led by professional tradenegotiating bureaucracies or officials in securityagencies.Although the SPP process is in its third year ofoperation, the upcoming North American leaders‘summit at Montebello, Quebec (the third in a nowannualseries of such meetings) provides theopportunity to assess this effort. Is the innovativeSPP structure working? Can the United States, whichinitiated the talks and is key to their success,negotiate future North American cooperation thisway?U.S. Negotiating ChallengesThe United States faces three important challenges indesigning and conducting negotiations under theSPP: managing the asymmetry with smallerneighbors; managing Congress, which has aconstitutional role on trade and must be persuaded tofund security measures; and the managing thepressures from special interests with a stake in theoutcome of specific changes to rules or procedures.The ambitious scope of the SPP affects the interestsof a wide range of economic and national securityconstituencies, complicating the Bushadministration‘s work to balance competing pressuresin each of these three areas.Asymmetry: The United States is responsible for88.4 percent of North American GDP, and is home to68.6 percent of North America‘s population. 2 Theaverage annual household income in the UnitedStates is somewhat higher than in Canada(USD$44,000 as opposed to USD$35,600), andsubstantially higher than in Mexico (USD$10,700).As for the security of North America, the UnitedStates spends USD$ 532.8 billion to maintain itsarmed forces, and the new Department of HomelandSecurity spent USD$ 41.1 billion in 2006 alone; theexpenditures for the FBI, intelligence services, andstate and local sheriffs and police forces are notincluded in these figures. 3U.S. wealth and strength are not always decisive innegotiations with Canada and Mexico; in fact, bothU.S. neighbors have well-developed diplomatictraditions of resistance to U.S. pressure. Nationalsovereignty is routinely asserted against U.S. requestsand prerogatives, and nationalist lobbies in Canadaand Mexico raise an outcry whenever agreementswith the United States appear to reflect U.S. prioritiesat the expense of national autonomy. It is possibleunder certain circumstances to override thissentiment, but not without costs to futurecooperation. Additionally, when the United Statespresses its advantages in bilateral or trilateralnegotiations, it often gets minimal, ―satisficing‖concessions from Ottawa and Mexico City ratherthan creative offers of assistance that advance sharedgoals.This dynamic, although frustrating to some inWashington, has been a persistent feature of U.S.relations with its neighbors. Yet the United States canoften overcome the defensive instincts of itsH U D S O N I N S T I T U T E Page 4

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