WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a joint statement from Prime Minister Harper, President Bush and President Calderon: Montebello, Quebec, Canada We, the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States, have met in Montebello to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing North America and to establish priorities for our further collaboration. As neighbours, we share a commitment to ensure North America remains a safe, secure and economically dynamic region, and a competitive player in global markets. We also discussed opportunities to cooperate globally and within our own hemisphere. The values and principles we share, in particular democracy, the rule of law and respect for individual rights and freedoms, underpin our efforts in building a more prosperous and secure region. The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), launched in 2005, is aimed at jointly achieving tangible results across a spectrum of areas, while respecting each nation's sovereignty. On February 23, 2007, our ministers responsible for the SPP met in Ottawa to review progress and discuss our further cooperation. Our ministers of industry and commerce, foreign affairs, security, environment, energy, health, transportation and trade have also met in recent months, reflecting our deepening dialogue within North America. They have made progress in advancing the priorities we identified at our 2006 meeting in Cancun. In particular, our three countries have completed: -- a North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza; -- a Regulatory Cooperation Framework; -- an Intellectual Property Action Strategy; and -- a Trilateral Agreement for Cooperation in Energy Science and Technology. In Montebello, we have discussed how we can build on our progress to date to further improve North America's position in the world. The North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), announced last year in Cancun, has provided us with thoughtful recommendations on how we could strengthen the competitive platform for businesses. We welcome the NACC's recommendations, including its readiness to be part of the solution, and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with the NACC in furthering North America's competitiveness. We ask that our ministers continue to seek input from interested parties in determining future priorities for increasing the security, prosperity and quality of life in North America. In this, the third year of the SPP, we direct our ministers to review the SPP process, focus on priorities and deliver results. We ask our ministers to focus their collaboration in five priority areas for the next year: Enhancing the Global Competitiveness of North America The North American Free Trade Agreement has been a tremendous mutual success in strengthening our economies and in enhancing the competitiveness of North America. In a rapidly changing global economy, we must build on NAFTA's success and reduce unnecessary trade barriers to ensure North America remains a competitive and a dynamic place to do business. To this end, the Regulatory Cooperation Framework will enable us to develop regulatory approaches that are compatible across our borders, while maintaining high standards of health, safety and environmental protection. In the coming year, we ask our ministers to consider work in areas, such as the chemicals, automotive, transportation, and information and communications technology sectors. The Intellectual Property Action Strategy also gives us an invaluable tool for combating counterfeiting and piracy, which undermine innovation, harm economic development and can have negative public-health and safety implications. We also ask our ministers to implement the Strategy and take concrete steps to strengthen our ability to combat counterfeiting and piracy in North America. We are strongly committed to advancing multilateral trade liberalization through a successful, comprehensive and ambitious conclusion to the WTO Doha Round of negotiations. We endorse the work of our trade ministers in Vancouver on June 13-14, 2007, to build on NAFTA's success and advance our shared interests in the Doha Round. We ask them to renew their efforts, working with their WTO colleagues, to achieve a balanced outcome that results in meaningful increases in trade in goods and services and improvements in global trading conditions. Safe Food and Products We will seek to strengthen the existing cooperation and mechanisms within the region, build on current standards and practices, and work with our trading partners outside North America using a scientific risk-based approach to identify and stop unsafe food and products before they enter our countries. These efforts could include: working with authorities to strengthen inspection and certification in exporting countries; identifying best practices by importers in selecting foreign manufacturers and inspecting goods either before export or before distribution; and reviewing our own existing authorities and practices to enhance national, regional and local coordination. Our governments will continue to address the safety of food and products imported into North America, while facilitating the significant trade in these products that our countries already have and without imposing unnecessary barriers to trade. Sustainable Energy and the Environment The further development of clean and sustainable energy is critical to reduce the effects of climate change and air pollution, while fuelling the North American economy. We support an integrated approach to climate change, energy security and economic development, and support the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. Cooperation among our major economies on a range of policy tools and sectoral approaches will advance these objectives. In particular, we ask our ministers to explore ways to cooperate on national auto fuel efficiency standards. We also ask our ministers to develop projects under the newly signed energy science and technology agreement, cooperate on moving new technologies to the marketplace and collaborate on energy efficiency. Smart and Secure Borders Our borders must be both efficient and secure if we are to continue to enhance prosperity, security and quality of life in North America. Effective border strategies minimize security risks, while facilitating the efficient and safe movement of goods, services and people, as trade and cross-border travel increase in North America. These strategies will draw on risk-based border management, innovative use of new technologies, coordinated border infrastructure development, and by moving, where possible, inspection and screening away from the land border. It is sometimes best to screen goods and travellers prior to entry into North America. We ask our ministers to develop mutually acceptable inspection protocols to detect threats to our security, such as from incoming travellers during a pandemic and from radiological devices on general aviation. We also ask our ministers to further cooperate in law enforcement, screening and facilitation of legitimate trade and travellers across our borders. Emergency Management and Preparedness The consequences of catastrophic events often transcend national borders. Preparation and planning can mitigate the impact of such events on people and our economies. Much work has been undertaken between our countries at national, sub-national and local levels to develop common approaches for responding to major incidents. We ask our ministers to continue this work and to address any obstacles preventing critical equipment, supplies and personnel from being deployed expeditiously to those parts of North America where they are needed. We also ask them to develop procedures for managing the movement of goods and people across our shared borders during and following an emergency. The SPP is focussed on the well-being of North America, but we also share a desire to work together to advance prosperity, security and stability globally. In Montebello, therefore, we also discussed opportunities to cooperate globally and within our own hemisphere. We ask foreign ministers to enhance dialogue and cooperation in North America, as well as in the hemisphere in such areas as emergency management and preparedness, and disaster risk reduction. Our shared values will continue to guide our collaboration as continental neighbours and global allies in the future. Prime Minister Harper and President Calderon were pleased to accept the proposal of President Bush for the United States to host the next meeting of North American leaders in 2008. SECURITY AND PROSPERITY PARTNERSHIP OF NORTH AMERICA: NEXT STEPS We, the leaders of North America, have asked our ministers to pursue the following priority activities and ask them to report to us on their progress in one year: Enhancing the Global Competitiveness of North America Global markets are changing, with dynamic new players becoming more competitive and innovative. More and more firms are relying on inputs from a wide range of international sources for their manufacturing and production processes. In this highly competitive environment, compatible regulations and standards enable us to protect health, safety and the environment, as well as to facilitate trade in goods and services across our borders. Strong copyright and piracy protection also encourage entrepreneurship and protect our citizens. Over the coming year, we ask our ministers to strengthen North America as a platform for global success and to achieve progress on regulatory cooperation and the protection of intellectual property. In particular, we ask our ministers to implement: The Regulatory Cooperation Framework announced today by: -- strengthening regulatory cooperation, streamlining regulations and processes, encouraging compatibility of regulations and eliminating redundant testing and certification requirements while maintaining high standards of health, safety and environmental protection; -- considering measures and initiatives in areas such as the chemical, automotive, transportation, and information and communication technology sectors; and -- undertaking trilateral cooperation to accelerate and strengthen our national and regional risk-based chemical assessment and management efforts. The Intellectual Property Action Strategy released today by: -- developing collaborative measures to improve the detection and deterrence of counterfeiting and piracy, expanding public awareness of the importance of intellectual property to our economies and for consumer health and safety, and better measuring the scope and magnitude of counterfeiting and piracy in North America; and -- taking steps such as developing best practices for enforcement and sharing information and intelligence on border enforcement techniques. We also endorse our ministers' plans to -- develop an economic work plan to respond to the ever increasing pressures on North American competitiveness and to facilitate trade in specific sectors to foster stronger North American value chains; and -- conduct an analysis of the free trade agreements that each country has negotiated subsequent to the NAFTA, beginning with those in the western hemisphere, including opportunities for innovative provisions on rules of origin. Safe Food and Products In order to promote the safety of imported products that enter North America and to facilitate trade, we ask ministers to: -- strengthen existing mechanisms within the region and the exchange information on import-safety issues, with the objective of enhancing the safety of food and products before they enter our countries; and -- identify and share with their SPP counterparts the best practices used by importing companies in each country to secure their supply chains and ensure that quality and safety are built into products before they are exported. Sustainable Energy and the Environment Balancing our energy requirements with the stewardship of our environment is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We need to enhance our research into new and clean technologies, facilitate the deployment of these technologies to the market, and improve our energy efficiency. We ask our ministers to advance work over the next year to: -- identify and pursue cooperative energy science and technology activities under the newly signed Trilateral Agreement for Cooperation in Energy and Science Technology; -- reduce barriers to the deployment of new and clean technologies; -- continue with efforts to align energy efficiency standards in key products and standby power consumption; -- cooperate for our mutual benefit in the development of biofuels, vehicle fuel efficiency technologies and technologies to reduce emissions; and -- share information and experience and cooperate in efforts to achieve comparable emission measurement, reporting and verification, in order to develop publicly available national emissions inventories. This exchange would include sharing of emissions information on, for example, NOx, SOx, CO2, VOCs, NH3, Hg and particulates. Smart and Secure Borders Our three countries have a long history of cooperative border management, predicated on the understanding that our prosperity and security depend on borders that operate efficiently and effectively under all circumstances. In some cases, the best time to screen travellers and commerce is before they enter North America. Coordinated, mutually acceptable procedures for detecting threats far from our borders are a means to do this. Recognizing differences in legal frameworks and policies, and noting the positive effect on our common security of current information sharing initiatives, we will seek to enhance our cooperation in this respect. We ask ministers to continue to pursue measures to facilitate the safe and secure movement of trade and travellers across our borders and, in particular, to: -- expedite air transportation through the development of comparable protocols and procedures to eliminate duplicate screening for baggage placed on a connecting flight in North America, and for inbound and outbound air cargo shipments; -- develop mutually acceptable approaches to screening for radiological and other similar threats, to include general aviation pathways, and to continue to undertake cooperative or joint research to manage such threats; -- develop mutually acceptable approaches to screening people during a pandemic; -- pursue, according to our respective laws, new, innovative and interoperable law enforcement models that promote seamless operations at the border, such as the Canada-US International Maritime Security Operations, to better protect our citizens from criminal and terrorist threats; -- improve and expand existing radio communications available to law enforcement agencies working on border security and cross-border law enforcement; -- work with stakeholders to identify ways to further enhance benefits of trusted traveller programs (NEXUS, FAST and SENTRI), including through expanding and streamlining application processing, further program integration and coordinated infrastructure investments; -- alleviate bottlenecks at the US-Mexico border, facilitate the legitimate flow of trade and people, and increase border security to address specific border issues related to congestion, current and future infrastructure needs, customs cooperation, stakeholder outreach and technology; and -- Canada and the US will maintain a high priority on the development of enhanced capacity of the border crossing infrastructure in the Detroit-Windsor region, the world's busiest land crossing. Emergency Management and Preparedness Neighbours help each other in times of distress. Our governments have worked together to address how we might better prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters -- either natural or man-made -- by developing a common approach to all aspects of emergency management. We ask our ministers to continue this work and specifically to: -- define, develop and coordinate appropriate responses to catastrophic incidents in North America; and -- develop bilateral and trilateral protocols and procedures through the Canada-Mexico-United States Emergency Management Council to manage the movement of goods and people, including emergency responders, across our shared borders during and following an emergency, and to improve communications among governments and between governments and industry, particularly during times of increased threat. THE SECURITY AND PROSPERITY PARTNERSHIP OF NORTH AMERICA: KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS SINCE MARCH 2006 Strengthening the Competitiveness of North America -- To lower costs for business, maximize trade and protect health, safety and the environment, our governments completed a trilateral Regulatory Cooperation Framework. The framework promotes information sharing among regulators and greater compatibility of regulations and regulatory processes. -- To enhance our common efforts to protect intellectual property rights, the three governments finalized an Action Strategy to combat trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy. -- To strengthen our energy security, environmental protection and economic sustainability, our governments finalized a Trilateral Agreement for Cooperation in Energy Science and Technology. -- To increase trade among our three countries, our governments implemented changes to the NAFTA rules of origin by mid-2006 that covered approximately $30 billion in annual trilateral trade. An additional set of changes, agreed to in 2007, will reduce export-related transaction costs for approximately $100 billion in annual trilateral trade. -- To promote safety and the seamless flow of goods across our border, Canada and the United States have agreed to the reciprocal recognition of containers used for the transportation of dangerous goods. -- To enhance the introduction of new wireless services and technologies, Canada and the United States have implemented a new process to expedite radio spectrum sharing arrangements for the border regions. This ensures citizens have timely access to the latest wireless services, and public safety and national security authorities have the spectrum they need, when they need it. -- To improve the compatibility and reliability of critically important wireless communications for public safety/first responders, Mexico and the United States signed a protocol in August facilitating cross border communications. -- To facilitate the trade of telecommunications equipment, Canada and the United States recognized each other's testing and certification for telecommunications equipment. Mexico will have a process in place by the end of 2007 to mutually accept test reports from the US and Canada. This reduces production costs and shortens the time to bring new products to market. -- To modernize aviation relations and provide airlines with added flexibility to offer better choices and services, the United States and Canada signed and implemented the text of a comprehensive Open-Skies air transport agreement on March 12, 2007. -- To increase border crossing efficiency at the port of entry, the United States and Mexico announced synchronized, extended hours of operation at the Santa Teresa/San Jeronimo Port of Entry starting September 2007. -- As part of the North American Steel Strategy, North American governments launched a trilateral, publicly-available North American Steel Trade Monitor website presenting North American steel trade data on a consolidated basis. -- Mexico and the United States established a bilateral Border Facilitation Working Group to advance in the areas of infrastructure, technology, coordination, and stakeholder outreach and engagement while ensuring high levels of security at our points of entry. Improving the Safety and Security of our Citizens -- To better detect nuclear and radiological material at ports, the Mexican government has agreed to install advanced radiological detection technology at the ports of Lazaro Cardenas, Altamira, Manzanillo and Veracruz. About 92 percent of Mexico's maritime cargo passes through these ports. -- To improve surveillance at ports, Canada has completed the installation of radiation detection equipment in Montreal, Halifax and Deltaport in Vancouver which, when fully operational, will screen 100 percent of inbound containers. -- To improve the security and predictability of travel documents, Canada and the United States approved the Recommended Standards for Secure Proof of Status and Nationality. -- To enhance and strengthen cargo security programs, Canada and the United Sates initiated a five-year program to harmonize automated commercial information systems. Protecting our Environment, Health and Quality of Life -- To detect, contain and control an avian influenza outbreak, and to mitigate the impacts of a possible human influenza pandemic in North America, our governments have finalized a North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza. -- To promote energy efficiency, our governments have harmonized energy performance standards for key household appliances and consumer products, such as freezers, refrigerators and room air conditioners. -- To raise the health status of indigenous people, Canada, Mexico and the United States exchanged information and research on various indigenous health issues, including suicide prevention, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, diabetes and indigenous health systems. -- To benefit our environment and quality of life, Canada and the United States signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) aimed at improving motor vehicle fuel efficiency. The MoC will allow the two countries to benefit from each others knowledge and experience in the area of fuel efficiency. -- To protect the environment, enhance health of people and promote the competitiveness of the automotive industry, Mexico started a program to gradually increase, from 2006 to 2009, the supply of low sulphur fuels in all the country. -- To improve the ecological health of our shared marine resources, our governments continued to expand the North American Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Network. The Network will use our countries' marine protected areas in the development of a tri-national MPA-based monitoring program stretching from Baja to the Bering Strait. -- To assure the safety of consumers and the security of our food and agriculture systems, Canada, Mexico and the United States agreed to share current threat and vulnerability assessment methodology and information for the food and agriculture systems, including imported and exported foods of higher concern, then undertake joint threat and vulnerability assessments. -- To better inform our citizens and civil society and receive input on our collaborative efforts under the SPP framework, the governments of Mexico and Canada hosted seminars with academics and specialists on the three countries as part of an ongoing public policy consultation process regarding the future of North America.
SOURCE White House Press Office