North American Competitiveness Council Promotes Regional Growth
Regional officials also review progress on Security and Prosperity Partnership
Washington — U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Mexican Economy Minister Sergio Garcia de Alba and Canadian Minister of Industry Maxime Bernier joined North American business leaders to launch the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) June 15 in Washington. In March, U.S. President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Vicente Fox announced the creation of the NACC as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) initiative.Â The NACC officially was launched June 15 and will be made up of 10 high-level business leaders from each country, who will meet annually with senior North American government officials to provide recommendations and help set priorities for promoting regional competitiveness in the global economy.
At the NACC launch, Gutierrez welcomed the contributions of the North American private sector.
“Today is a continuation of President Bush’s strong commitment to our North American partners to focus on North America’s security and prosperity,” he said. “The private sector is the driving force behind innovation and growth, and the private sector’s involvement in the SPP is key to enhancing North America’s competitive position in global markets.”
In a June 15 interview with the Washington File, Luis Pinto, executive director of the North American Business Committee at the Council of the Americas and participant in the U.S. Council of the NACC, echoed Gutierrez on the important role of the region’s business community.
“Success in the 21st century demands regional strategies,” Pinto said, “The leaders understand that the role of government is to create the environment for success, but the private sector is the engine of growth.”
Pinto added that as part of the secretariat of the U.S. section of the NACC, the Council of the Americas looks forward to working with representatives from the private and public sectors of Canada and Mexico to advance the SPP agenda.
At the NACC launch, North American government officials and business leaders committed to work together more closely to advance regional competitiveness. The Washington meeting of Gutierrez, Garcia de Alba and Bernier — the SPP prosperity ministers — also provided the officials with an opportunity to reflect on progress in expanding prosperity since the establishment of SPP in 2005.
Among the accomplishments was the first convocation of officials from the regulatory, trade and oversight agencies from the three North American countries to identify a core set of elements for a Regulatory Cooperation Framework. Other progress included the ongoing liberalization of rules of origin, which helps reduce cost and facilitate cross-border trade and the establishment of a North American task force to combat counterfeiting and piracy, according to a Department of Commerce press release.
While the SPP ministers reflected on these accomplishments, SPP security ministers –Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Canadian Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day and Mexican Secretary of Government Carlos Abascal — also are taking stock of progress on the security component of the SPP and will release a report in July.
In the fall, the SPP ministers will hold a meeting with the NACC to discuss priorities, update work plans and consider new initiatives, according to the Commerce Department.
For more information, see Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.
A press release on SPP accomplishments is available on the Department of Commerce Web site.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)