Aug 162009
 
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“The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is no longer an active initiative and as such…this website will act as an archive for SPP documents. There will not be any updates to this site.” 

This SPP was effectively ended August 10, 2009, along with a statement released by the A North American trading region is just the beginning.North American Leaders. North American integration will continue but with a change in strategy; more “transparency” and a “dialogue” on labor and the environment. This is a result of growing opposition to the corporate dominated process of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) dictating “strategic advice and support to the leaders” and the secret meetings without citizen or legislative input.

The Joint Statement reaffirms the continuing integration of North America as an economic region:

“We, the leaders of North America, have come together to promote the global competitiveness of our region, foster the well-being of our citizens, and make our nations more secure. We build our collaboration on the understanding that our deepening ties are a source of strength and that challenges and opportunities in one North American country can and do affect us all. North American cooperation is rooted in shared values, complementary strengths, and the dynamism of our peoples. We are confident that working together we can help our societies thrive in the challenging, competitive, and promising century ahead.”

“North American trade is a vital component of our economic well-being and we pledge to abide by our international responsibilities (trade agreements) and avoid protectionist measures. We reiterate our commitment to reinvigorate our trading relationship and to insure that the benefits of our economic relationship are widely shared and sustainable. We will seek to promote respect for labor rights and protection of the environment with a continuing dialogue to address the functioning of the Labor and Environmental side agreements. [1] The dialogue must result in mutually agreeable and cooperative activities with the aim to enhance the well-being and prosperity of our citizens and the economic recovery of our countries.”

[1] The leaders give no guarantee of “enforceable” labor and environmental side agreements that are favorable to labor and the environment. Trade agreements either have no side agreements or they have side agreements that are not enforceable. A good example is the U.S. trade agreement with Peru, which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both supported.

Globalism and free trade are based on cheap oil, cheap labor and no environmental blocks to corporate profits. Foreign corporations, under NAFTA, have been successful in challenging such environmental laws in Canada, Mexico and the United States. So corporations are going to sign off on enforceable side agreements?

“We recognize and embrace citizen participation as an integral part of our work together in North America. We welcome the contributions of businesses, both large and small, and those of civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, academics, experts, and others. We have asked our Ministers (Hillary Clinton and others) to engage in such consultations as they work to realize the goals we have set for ourselves here in Guadalajara.”

What about the North American Competitiveness Council? The NACC issued a statement to the leaders on August 6, 2009, through the Council of the Americas, a co-secretariat of the NACC (along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) Some excerpts:

“The benefits of greater integration and cooperation in North America are clear. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has enhanced prosperity in all three countries through increased trade and investment, stronger economic growth, and lower prices for consumers. (no comment necessary)

“The North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) is a group of business leaders from Canada, Mexico, and the United States formed in 2006 (institutionalized) to gather advice from the private sector on ways to enhance North America’s competitive position, promote increased employment, and foster a higher standard of living. The private sector is key to enhancing North America’s competitive position in global markets and is a driving force behind innovation and growth. The experience of the NACC over the past three years demonstrates the clear benefits of close cooperation among North America’s business communities ae well as governments.

“In 2007, the NACC offered recommendations to our governments in three broad categories: keeping our borders open while ensuring security; enhancing regulatory cooperation, and securing clean, affordable energy for our continent…

“We expect the trilateral partnership to evolve over time to meet changing circumstances and needs. No matter what form the partnership may take, we encourage governments to continue to consult with the private sector in all three countries. The NACC stands ready to provide advice and assistance to governments as they work together to strengthen the security and prosperity of North America.”

The administration has been silent on anything related to the SPP, including the NACC, an organization that was “institutionalized” for North America in 2006. It has been responsible for most of the process of integrating North America. Will the three leaders discontinue this institution? Perhaps change the name. That’ll work.

Obama has flip-flopped on “Buy American” when he said in a press conference on August 10th, “We reaffirmed the need to reject protectionism…As we work together towards lasting prosperity, we need to expand that trade, not restrict it.”

And on immigration: “…my administration will continue to work to fix America’s broken immigration system in a way that is in keeping with our traditions of being both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.” ( If free trade and open borders doesn’t work, keep trying until it does.)

The Obama administration has another integration project planned. He has taken over George Bush launched the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas to replace the failed FTAA.George Bush’s Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas Initiative (PPA), launched at the United Nations in September of 2008, just before leaving office, with 12 nations of the Western Hemisphere, including Canada and Mexico.

This project is an effort to replace the failed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), a trading region of the 34 nations of the Western Hemisphere, minus Cuba, that would be larger than the European Union.  Headquarters could be in Miami. And Obama’s trading region of the Americas would have a different look than the Bush corporate model.

Secretary of State Clinton, speaking on plans for the Pathways project:

“The next step for expanded opportunity will mean expanding beyond the current focus and current membership…Pathways should be open to working with new partners, including other nations and subregional banks, that share our commitment to open markets and greater social inclusion…”

In an OP-Ed piece for the Miami Herald on a “Critical Moment” for the Hemisphere, Clinton talks about forging “new partnerships that bring together governments, businesses, sub-regional institutions, disapora communities and other stakeholders to harness untapped resources and talent.” June 1, 2009.

And the beat goes on.