Background on What to Expect at the North American Summit

by Laura Carlsen


The North America Leaders’ Summit will convene this year on February 19 in Toluca, Mexico. The summits happen when the three heads of state decide to meet and began in 2005 with the formation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, an outgrowth of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since then, the summits have been mainly a PR effort to reframe or promote the tri-national relationship, often marked by popular protests. There were no summits held in 2010, 2011 or 2013, while the 2012 Washington DC Summit declaration mentioned the predictable efforts at standardizing regulations and efficient borders, more exclusive intellectual property rules and energy integration, among other issues discussed.

The high-level meeting serves as a forum to further specific political and economic agendas. For example, then President Bush used the 2008 summit in New Orleans during the presidential campaigns to try to neutralize the democrats’ criticisms of NAFTA and press for what was then called Plan Mexico, now the Merida Initiative, for increased U.S. intervention in Mexican security.

For more on this story, visit: Americas Program: Background on What to Expect at the North American Summit.


by Manuel Perez-Rocha

Twenty years after it took effect, NAFTA has failed the vast majority of Mexicans.

Of course, hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs have vanished since automotive and tech companies moved their production across the border in search of much lower wages.

This was supposed to boost employment in Mexico. Instead, NAFTA has become an engine of poverty in the country, forcing millions of Mexicans to migrate to the United States in search of jobs.

For more on this story, visit: NAFTA’s 20 Years of Unfulfilled Promises.

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