Canadian-Mexican relations. Rivals more than friends.
The Economist14.02.2014Read original
Canada and Mexico will mean very little for each other as long as their mutual partner (the US) sits in between and is worth by itself several times more than both of them combined.
You can usually count on diplomats to be, well, diplomatic in their public utterances, reserving blunter statements for meetings behind closed doors. Not so Francisco Suárez Dávila, Mexico’s ambassador to Canada, who earlier this month said his country’s relations with Canada were stagnant and that Canada held an Anglo-centric view of the world in which Mexico does not exist. His message does not augur well for the official visit to Mexico by Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister, which begins today, or for the meeting of all three North American leaders at a NAFTA summit two days later in Toluca (pictured), the capital of Mexico State …
… The rancour between two of North America’s three amigos, as the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States were once called, predates the visa problem. Canada was a reluctant signatory to the North America Free Trade Agreement, joining to protect access to the American market it secured in a 1989 Canada-US deal rather than out of any desire for closer relations with Mexico. The two have been rivals for US affection and attention ever since ….
… Yet Canada needs to diversify its trade from the United States, which absorbed 75% of Canadian goods exports in 2012, and Mexico, as a member of NAFTA, would seem to be one of the easier foreign markets to penetrate. Although bilateral goods trade with Mexico has risen more than sixfold since NAFTA took effect in 1994, it started from a low base and only reached C$31 billion ($28 billion) in 2012. Canada-US bilateral trade that same year was just over $600 billion. Recent liberalisation measures by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto are likely to open up more opportunities for trade and investment, especially in Mexico’s energy sector. Exploring those opportunities may not be harmed by frosty relations at the top, but they cannot be helped.