North American integration

North American integration

North American integration refers to the process of economic and political integration in North America particularly integration of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.



The North American Accord

While Ronald Reagan was organizing his run for the 1980 U.S. presidential election, two of his policy advisers, Martin Anderson and John Sears, proposed to him an idea they called the "North American Accord" that would create a common market between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Reagan saw this proposal as a solution to illegal immigration and other problems between the U.S. and its neighbors. Despite being greeted with skepticism and resistance from leaders in Canada and Mexico, Reagan endorsed the idea when he formally announced his candidacy in November 1979.[1]

Reagan would soon find a sympathetic voice in Canada after a report by a Royal Commission suggested pursuing a free trade agreement with the United States. Brian Mulroney responded by initiating discussions with the United States and these negotiations culminated with the signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA) in 1988. This agreement served as a template for negotiations with Mexico that were eventually expanded to include Canada in what became the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).[2]

Vicente Fox and NAFTA-Plus

Jorge Castañeda, serving as a policy advisor to then Mexican Presidential candidate Vicente Fox, was influenced by Robert Pastor's ideas on deepening integration of NAFTA and encouraged Fox to adopt these policies as part of his campaign.[3] Before and after the election Fox made appearances on several U.S. news programs advocating greater integration including a plan to open up the U.S.-Mexico border within ten years.[4][5] Around this time a number of proposals were also put forward for an expansion of the NAFTA agreement, generically called "NAFTA-Plus." After taking office, Vicente Fox proposed one such plan to President George W. Bush of the United States and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien that would move towards a supranational union in the form of the European Union. Fox's proposal was rejected by President Bush.[6]

The Security and Prosperity Partnership

The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) was formed at a meeting of North American leaders on March 23, 2005. It was described by the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States as a dialogue to provide greater cooperation on security and economic issues.[7] A number of academics and government officials at the time viewed the SPP as moving North America towards greater integration.[8]

In a private round-table discussion on March 15, 2006 U.S. on the Security and Prosperity Partnership Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez advocated creating a North American Competitiveness Council composed of business leaders from all three NAFTA countries in order to ensure sustainable regional integration and address issue that might impede such integration.[9] Just over two weeks later the council was formed as an SPP working group. It has submitted several reports suggesting new measures on deepening integration of the NAFTA region including a Regulatory Cooperation Framework and a trilateral tax treaty to "provide clear rules governing tax matters affecting trade and investment between the three countries".[10]

Several advocates of integration saw the SPP as being insufficient. One criticism was that the governments lacked a "vision of what North America might become" and as such did not provide the proper context that would allow the initiative to deal with barriers to deeper integration.[11] Another problem seen with the dialogue was that it operated from a federal perspective at the exclusion of state, provincial, and local government involvement. The separation between the security aspect of the initiative and the economic aspect was also seen as a failing of the initiative.[12]

Two-speed integration

Several works have discussed taking a two-speed approach to North American integration, with Canada and the United States pursuing deeper integration, with Mexico to be included at a later date.[13] This has been likened to the European Union's multi-speed approach towards integration with the United States advancing in its integration with Canada faster than with Mexico.[12]

In this scenario the border between the U.S. and Canada would be opened up to goods, services, and people.[13] Part of this could include the formation of a security perimeter around the two countries with reduced focus on security along the national borders. The perimeter approach has been discussed publicly by officials of the U.S. and Canadian governments.[12] It has been suggested this approach could raise concerns that such an agreement would set a precedent for a later agreement of the same kind with Mexico.[12]

Organizations involved in North American integration

The following is a list of organizations that are by varying degrees associated with the integration efforts of North America. Some are policy think tanks while others are involved in specific facets of integration. Most, but not all, are trilaterally oriented (i.e., representing Canada, Mexico and the United States); a few tend to be bilateral organizations such as for Canada and the U.S.

Organization Description Home Country Countries of Organization’s Participants Official Website
Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (ACIEP) U.S. U.S. ACIEP membership A movement dedicated to the exploration of the potentialities for a democratic annexation of Canada to the USA. Canada Canada & U.S.
Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) Aims to promote binational health and environmental projects along the U.S.-Mexican border and partners with the North American Development Bank (NADB). Mexico & U.S. Mexico & U.S. BECC
Canadian Council of Chief Executives Canada CCCE
Center for North American Studies (CNAS) at American University Educates and promotes policy debates between governments about the North American Region. U.S. U.S. CNAS
Digital Government Society of North America U.S. Canada, Mexico, United States (potentially) DGSNADGRC
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Handles aerospace warning and control for North America and awareness of activities in U.S. and Canadian maritime areas and as well as inland waterways. U.S. Canada & U.S. NORAD
North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) at Arizona State University A center for scholars regarding the trilateral issues in North America. U.S. NACTS
North America Development Bank (NADB) Created under the guidance of NAFTA to focus on environmental issues along the U.S.-Mexican border and partners with the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC). Mexico & U.S. NADB
North American Forum North American Forum
North American Forum on Integration Canada Canada, Mexico & U.S. NAFI
The North American Institute (NAMI) NAMI
North American Integration and Development (NAID Center) NAID
United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) (a.k.a. NORAD-U.S. Northern Command Command Center) A "central collection and coordination facility for a worldwide system of sensors designed to provide the commander and the leadership of Canada and the U.S. with an accurate picture of any aerospace threat" U.S. U.S. USNORTHCOM
Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America (SPP) Leads an agenda "to enhance the competitive position of North American industries in the global marketplace",[14] prevent & respond to threats in North America, and "ensure the streamlined movement of legitimate travelers and cargo across our shared borders"[15] Canada, Mexico & U.S. SPP in CanadaSPP in MexicoSPP in the U.S.
Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) TECEU-USA TEC
United North America A non-profit organization that advocates the admittance of Canadian provinces into the United States as new states of the Union. Canada Canada United North America

See also


  1. ^ Orme, William A. (1996). Understanding NAFTA: Mexico, free trade, and the new North America. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0292760469. 
  2. ^ Fawn, Rick (2009). Globalising the Regional, Regionalising the Global: Volume 35, Review of International Studies. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521759889. 
  3. ^ Clarkson, Stephen (2008). Does North America exist?: governing the continent after NAFTA and 9/11. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802096530. 
  4. ^ "Online NewsHour: Vicente Fox -- March 21, 2000". PBS. 2000-03-21. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  5. ^ "Open U.S.-Mexican Border". The Brookings Institution. 2000-07-28. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  6. ^ Fox, Vicente (2007). Revolution of hope: the life, faith, and dreams of a Mexican president. Viking. ISBN 0670018392. 
  7. ^ Joint Statement by President Bush, President Fox, and Prime Minister Martin at
  8. ^ "The Current Debate Regarding the SPP: Security and the Integration of North America". Center for North American Studies. 2009-12-24. Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  9. ^ "Security & Prosperity Partnership". Council of the Americas. 2006-03-15. Archived from the original on 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  10. ^ "ENHANCING COMPETITIVENESS IN CANADA, MEXICO, AND THE UNITED STATES". North American Competitiveness Council. 2007-02. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  11. ^ "SPP and the Way Forward for North American Integration". Lubin School of Business. 2006-03. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Toward a New Frontier Improving the U.S.-Canadian Border". The Brookings Institution. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  13. ^ a b Andreas, Peter; Thomas J. Biersteker (2003). The Rebordering of North America: Integration and Exclusion in a New Security Context. Routledge. ISBN 0415944678. 
  14. ^ "Prosperity Agenda". Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  15. ^ "Security Agenda". Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 

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