News

    North American Leaders To Meet in Guadalajara

    Multimedia

    The state of the world's economy will be one of the main topics of discussion when U.S. President Barack Obama meets with the leaders of Canada and Mexico. The North American leaders' summit, in the Mexican city of Guadalajara, will also focus on security, trade, and the H1N1 flu virus.
     
    Economic recovery will be the first item on the agenda when President Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper meet in Guadalajara.

    All three countries have been struggling through the global economic downturn, while many low-wage jobs have migrated from North America to Asia.

    Robert Pastor, the co-director of the Center for North American Studies at Washington's American University, expects the leaders to discuss ways to make their economies more competitive.

    "The economies of all three countries are doing very poorly, and whether they can coordinate and consult better than they have in the last year, would be a good step forward," he said.

    Canada is America's top trading partner, and Mexico is number three, so trade will also be one of the summit's main issues.

    Last year, U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama advocated renegotiating the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, which binds the three economies together.

    He has since changed his mind. While visiting Ottawa in February, President Obama told Canada's leader he is now focused on how best to implement NAFTA.

    "I recognize the concerns of Canada given how significant trade with the United States is to the Canadian economy," he said. "I provided Prime Minister Harper an assurance that I want to grow trade and not contract it."

    Sabina Dewan, associate director of International Economic Policy at the Washington-based Center for American Progress, says it is not likely that talk of renegotiating NAFTA will resurface.

    "I think that it's sort of being tossed up in trade circles," said Dewan. "I don't think at this point in time that it is a very serious threat."
     
    One contentious trade issue that will come up is the so-called "Buy American" clause in the $787 billion U.S. economic stimulus. It requires that stimulus-backed public works projects use U.S.-made materials. The clause has angered Washington's trading partners around the world, especially Canada and Mexico. One Mexican official calls it "a stone in the shoe of North American competitiveness."

    The North American neighbors are also expected to talk about cooperation on energy and the environment. Prime Minister Harper laid the groundwork for the discussions when he and Mr. Obama met in Ottawa in February.  

    "We are establishing a U.S.-Canada clean energy dialogue, which commits senior officials from both countries to collaborate on the development of clean energy science and technologies that will reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change," he said.

    Canada and Mexico are the United States' top two foreign sources of energy.

    Perhaps the most urgent issue to be discussed in Guadalajara is the expected re-emergence of the H1N1 swine flu, which swept through Mexico and the United States earlier this year.

    Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, the Director of the Pan-American Health Organization, says the North American nations cooperated very well to limit the damage from the outbreak.

    "They shared information, they were very transparent, they acted with a lot of solidarity-not only among themselves, sharing resources and information, but also with the rest of the world," she said.

    American University's Robert Pastor says that cooperation can pave the way for efforts to blunt the effects of the next outbreak.

    "The coordination between Mexico, Canada and the United States to deal with that then was excellent," he said. "And I suspect that they have already built the networks that will permit us next fall to cope with the response to it.  

    Dr. Roses says she hopes the North American leaders will not let their countries' economic woes limit their preparations for the next appearance of H1N1.

    "….that they will commit themselves, and also make a call to the rest of the countries that have less resources, to protect the investment in public health infrastructure," said Dr. Roses.  

    Other security issues will figure prominently in the summit. The three leaders are expected to discuss organized crime -especially the violent drug syndicates in Mexico and in the western Canadian city of Vancouver.  

    They are also likely to cover regional strife in Honduras and Venezuela, as well as global security issues including nuclear weapons concerns in Iran and North Korea.

    Immigration policy will not be on the trilateral agenda, but Presidents Obama and Calderon will tackle the issue.

    Guadalajara is Mexico's second-largest city, and it is home to 50,000 North American retirees.

    As usual at summit meetings, security will be very tight. The English-language Guadalajara Reporter newspaper says the city will resemble a "fortress."

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora