North American Leaders' Summit 2016: leaders affirm strong relations

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Ottawa. This marks the first time Canadian, U.S., and Mexican leaders have met since 2014, as 2015's summit was not arranged in the harsh political relations at the time.

File photo of Obama, Trudeau, and Peña Nieto, 2015.
Image: Pete Souza.

Among the topics discussed were trade and the countries' economies, and current world events such as the U.S. presidential candidates and the United Kingdom's recent vote to leave the European Union.

North America has a combined economy representing over 25% of the world's GDP (gross domestic product) with a little over 7% of the world's population. The countries' combined GDP has risen since 1993 from US$8 trillion to about US$20 trillion in 2016.

The "Three Amigos" have shown an agenda geared towards green energy: pledging to generate 50% clean power across North America by the year 2025, implement a joint study about the addition of renewable energy sources in North America, and implement ten energy-efficiency standards and tests on equipment being traded throughout the continent.

Trade was also a big topic of discussion, with the leaders affirming support not only for NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) — something controversial in the U.S. political campaign — but also the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with Mexican President Peña Nieto stating: "We are fully convinced that by working together [...] we can be the most competitive region in the world". Justin Trudeau also said by December 1 of this year Mexicans will no longer require visas in order to come to Canada.

The leaders held a trilateral press conference with the media after the summit. During the conference, President Obama scorned presidential candidate Donald Trump, calling his rhetoric "nativism or xenophobia".

File photo of Bush, Fox, and Martin, 2005.
Image: White House.
Richard Nixon's parliamentary address, 1972.
Image: White House Photo Office Collection (Nixon Administration).

President Barack Obama also addressed a joint session of the Canadian Senate and House of Commons. Obama was the seventh president to do so — his other six predecessors being Harry Truman in 1947, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 and 1958, John F. Kennedy in 1961, Richard Nixon in 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1981 and 1987, and Bill Clinton in 1995.

Obama spoke about the relationship between Canada and the United States, saying the border was the "longest border of peace on Earth". He also said the United States "could not ask for a better friend or ally than Canada."


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