Globalization: Building a North American Community

January 17, 2006 10:37 AM | by Pierre Hillard

The true nature of today's European Union has become evident in the simultaneous construction of a North American community whose aim is to merge with the former. Pierre Hillard analyzes this project as it is described in documents by Mexican, Canadian and American influential authors.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada and Mexico, which came into effect on January 1st, 1994, allowed for the creation of a unified economic entity. The goals defined in Article 102 of that treaty aim at: "eliminating barriers for the trade of services and products among territories of the Parties and facilitating the trans-border movement of these products and services (...); creating the framework for stronger multilateral, regional and trinational cooperation in order to increase and expand the advantages provided by this treaty". These assertions gained new momentum thanks to the work of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) [1] in association with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (which groups the main heads of 150 Canadian businesses) and the Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales (Mexican Council of International Affairs - COMEXI -, a multidisciplinary political organization supported by Mexican businesses). Then, it was decided to create, by 2010 at the latest, a "North American Security and Economic Community" whose first official step was taken on March 23 2005 in Waco (Texas) by US President George W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox. Based on a previous report made by and presented on March 14 2005 by the CFR, the CCCE and COMEXI thanks to the good offices of former Canadian Vice Prime Minister and Finance Minister John P. Manley; of Mexican former Minister of the Treasury Pedro Aspe; and of former Governor of Massachusetts and US Attorney General assistant William F. Weld; the three heads of state expressed their intentions to implement this program in 2010 at the latest. These intentions immediately materialized in Waco with the creation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) and ministerial working groups in charge of security and economic affairs. However, it was only in May of that year that the detailed and full program emerged. As the president of the CFR, Richard N. Hass, notes: "The Task Force offers a series of ambitious and detailed proposals that join the recommendations adopted by the three governments during the summit of Texas in March 2005. The main recommendation of the Task Force is the creation, by 2010 at the latest, of a North American security and economic community whose boundaries will be defined by a common external tariff and an outer security perimeter". Given these explicit goals, we can highlight the following aspects of the report.

In the authors' opinion, North America faces three kinds of challenges: "Shared security threats, shared challenges to our economic growth and development and shared challenge of uneven economic development".

To respond to these challenges the Task Force has created two categories of recommendations that go from those that should be implemented now, to those to be implemented by 2010 in the fields of security, economy and politics. Depending on the topic, sometimes there are no recommendations for 2010.

The objective of the first main line is "Making North America Safer". In this case, recommendations were presented in the military and economic fields. It is necessary to create a unique line of protection that includes the entire New World. According to the promoters, the measures that should be taken are the following:

I - Security

Stressing the threat of terrorism, the authors of the report recommend the following measures:

Now

1) Establish a common security perimeter by 2010.

The goal is to favor the creation of a "common security perimeter for North America".

2) Develop a North American Border Pass.

This document would contain biometric indicators. The program would be modeled on the U.S.-Canadian 'NEXUS' and the U.S.-Mexican 'SENTRI' programs, which provides 'smart cards' to allow swifter passage to those who pose no risk. Now, it is about knowing the criteria that will rule the classification of people in the different risk categories. The report does not clarify it. There are clear signs of deviation.

3) Develop a unified North American border action plan.

The goal is to establish "smart borders" between the three countries harmonizing visa and asylum regulations, harmonizing the screening and tracking procedures for people, goods and vessels, fully sharing data about the exit and entry of foreign nationals and jointly inspecting containers entering North American ports.

4) Expand border infrastructure.

Due to the rapid increase of the exchange among the three countries, the report stresses the importance of building "additional border facilities" aiming at facilitating trade.






For 2010

Lay the groundwork for the freer flow of people within North America.

As the report states, "a long-term goal for a North American border action plan should be joint screening of travelers from third countries at their first point of entry into North America and the elimination of most controls over the temporary movement of these travelers within North America".

II - Law Enforcement and Military Cooperation

Security cooperation among the three countries is also essential with regards to counter-terrorism and law enforcement. This work should lead to "the establishment of a trinational threat intelligence center, the development of trinational ballistics and explosives registration, and joint training for law enforcement officials". What emerges from this is the immediate application of the following measures:

a) Now

1) Expand NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) into a multi-service Defense Command.

As the report clearly states, the NORAD should "evolve into a multi-service Defense Command that would expand the principle of Canadian-U.S. joint command to Land and naval as well as air forces engaged in defending the approaches to North America". On this topic, Mexico would send observers.

2) Increase information and intelligence sharing at the local and national levels in both law enforcement and military organizations.

In addition to cooperating and sharing information and intelligence, the United States and Canada invite "Mexico to consider more extensive information-sharing and collaborativeplanning involving military organizations and law enforcement as a means to build mutual trust and pave the way for closer cooperation in the future". It notes that a "Joint Analysis Center" should be established immediately to serve as a clearing house for information and development of products for supporting law enforcement and, as appropriate, military requirements.


III - Spread the Benefits of Economic Development

The authors note that the development of North America has shown important economic disparities existing between the northern and southern regions of Mexico. It recalls that "Mexico also requires significant reforms in its tax and energy policies so that it can use its own resources more effectively to advance its economic development".

a) Now

1) Intensify Mexican efforts to accelerate its economic development. _Due to its development backwardness, Mexico, as it continues to encourage more investment and distributes the benefits of economic growth in a better way, must improve its capacity and productivity in the energy sector; it must also continue making efforts to enhance governmental transparency and its educational system. The report notes that it is up to Mexicans to develop the policy conditions for these changes to take place. It is stated that the United States and Canada should help this country, which will force Mexico to set policies that respond to the selfless support of his two northern neighbors. The report also stresses that the assistance given to Mexico "should also be recognized as a priority within the international development programs of both the United States and Canada". In exchange for this support, Washington and Ottawa will demand guarantees to limit Mexico's trading actions.

2)Establish a North American investment fund for infrastructure and human capital.

The goal is to encourage private capital flow into Mexico. The fund would focus on increasing and improving the physical infrastructure linking the less developed parts of Mexico to markets in the north,

3) Enhance the capacity of the North American Development Bank (NADBank).

The purpose of this bank is to support environmental infrastructure projects within 100 kilometers on both sides of the Mexican-U.S. border. Now, its mandate has been expanded recently to cover 300 kilometers into Mexico. This policy also intends to better integrate the Mexican economy into those of its two giant northern neighbors. (There are no recommendations for 2010)



IV - Develop a North American Resource Strategy

This is a key sector. As the United States is a big consumer of energy, it is forced to organize its supplies from Canada and Mexico, important producers of gas and oil (in 2004, Mexico was placed second among the top exporters of oil to the United States). Three measures should be adopted immediately.

a) Now

1) Develop a North American energy strategy.

The three governments need to work "together to ensure energy security". This program was launched in 2001 and has to be strengthened according to the authors.

2) Fully develop Mexican energy resources.

This would accelerate its economic growth, which would immediately benefit the United States.

3) Conclude a North American resources accord.

As the authors state: "In order to ensure the fullest development of North America's mineral,forest, and agricultural resources, investors in one country need to be confident that they will not be harassed by competitors in another".




b) For 2010

1) Make a North American commitment to a cleaner environment.

In order to escape the measures adopted in Kyoto, the authors note that "a North American energy and emissions regime could offer a regional alternative to Kyoto that includes all three countries".

2) Expand trinational collaboration on conservation and innovation.

The goal is to encourage initiatives against pollution and to favor alternative energy.


The second main line of this report has to do with the creation of a "North American Economic Space". To make this objective materialize, the Task Force made the following recommendations: Establishing a seamless North American market, adopting a North American approach to regulation, increasing labor mobility, and enhancing support for North American education programs".

I - Establish a Seamless North American Market for Trade

With the implementation of NAFTA (tariff barriers virtually eliminated) the ultimate goal, as the authors say, should be "to create a seamless market for suppliers and consumers throughout North America".

a) Now

1) Adopt a common external tariff. - Harmonize common external tariffs consistent with multilateral obligations.

2) Review those sectors of NAFTA that were excluded or those aspects that have not been fully implemented.

3) Establish a permanent tribunal for North American dispute resolution. - What is more, the report stresses the need to "review the workings of NAFTA's dispute-settlement mechanism to make it more efficient, transparent, and effective".

4) Establish a joint approach to unfair trade practices.


b) For 2010

1) Establish a trinational competition commission.

The promoters of this document recall that the three governments "should also establish a trinational commission-a continental anti-trust agency-to address harmful subsidy practices (…)".

II - Adopt a North American Approach to Regulation

The authors highlight the importance of a concerted effort to encourage regulatory convergence to create a wider and harmonized market.

a) Now

1) Ensure rapid implementation of the North American regulatory action plan.

The report recommends, among other aspects, the harmonization at the highest prevailing standard, mutual recognition, reciprocal recognition (in the area of licensing), inter-operability,collaborative development of new standards, and unilateral adoption of each other country's rules.

2) Agree on priority sectors for early action.

In order to facilitate economic integration, the Task Force names three sectors as immediate priorities to increase North America's competitiveness: Open skies and open roads (unlimited access of airlines and land haulage contractors to the others' territories); "Tested once" for biotechnology and pharmaceuticals by which a product tested in one country would meet the standards set by another, or to establish a North America testing center with personnel from each country" and Integrating protection of food, health, and the environment.

3) Make a North American standard the default approach to new regulation.

The framework of the Security and Prosperity Partnership should be used "to establish a new mechanism to enable greater collaboration and consultation among the three countries at all levels of government as new rules are developed and adopted". (There are no recommendations for 2010)




III - Increase Labor Mobility within North America

This aspect has a crucial importance as it aims at increasing population mobility of the three countries. In the long term, we will witness a profound modification of the North American identity with the massive and encouraged arrival of Spanish-speaking people. As the report notes: "Canada and the United States should consider eliminating restrictions on labor mobility altogether and work toward solutions that, in the long run, could enable the extension of full labor mobility to Mexico as well".

a) Now

1) Expand temporary migrant worker programs.

The increasing need for labor leads to "expanding programs for temporary labor migration from Mexico".

2) Implement the Social Security Totalization Agreement negotiated between the United States and Mexico.

The goal is to prevent double taxation.


b) For 2010

1) Create a ''North American preference.''

This aspect involves fewer working restrictions for inhabitants of these three countries than for immigrants from other countries.

2) Move to full labor mobility between Canada and the United States.

Complete elimination by Canada and the United States of all remaining barriers to the ability of their citizens to live and work in the other country. "In the long term, the two countries should work to extend this policy to Mexico as well, though doing so will not be practical until wage differentials between Mexico and its two North American neighbors have diminished considerably".

3)Mutual recognition of professional standards and degrees.





IV - Support a North American Education Program

This policy aims at favoring true integration of the three countries' student world and, in the long term, strengthening the economy.

a) Now

1) Create a major scholarship fund for undergraduate and graduate students to study in the other North American countries and to learn the region's three languages.

We note that North America is classified as a "region". The latter is only an element that is part of the future world State.

2) Develop a network of centers for North American studies.

Like the European Union provides substantial funding for "EU Centers" in fifteen universities in the United States, as well as twelve Jean Monnet Chairs, the authors recommend that the three governments "open a competition and provide grants to universities in each of the three countries to promote courses, education, and research on North America and assist elementary and secondary schools in teaching about the region".

3) Promote Internet-based learning within North America.

4) Develop teacher exchange and training programs for elementary and secondary school teachers. The goal is to remove language barriers and to "give some students a greater sense of a North American identity".

5) Develop ''sister school'' and student exchange programs.

6) Encourage imaginative ways to build North American connections. The authors encourage foundations and research institutions to promote the sense of belonging to a North American community. (There are no recommendations for 2010.)






The third and last main line of this report is entitled "From Vision to Action: Institutions to Guide Trinational Relations".

This desire to establish a unified North American bloc leads to a deep institutional change. The changes are the following:

Now

1) Holding an annual North American summit meeting.

2) Strengthening government structures.

The report recommends strengthening the internal structures of each country "by establishing minister-led working groups that will be required to report back within ninety days, and to meet regularly".

3) Create a North American Advisory Council.

With the creation of an independent group of advisors, the authors of the report particularly insist on the fact that " their mandate would be to engage in creative exploration of new ideas from a North American perspective and to provide a public voice for North America. A complementary approach would be to establish private bodies that would meet regularly or annually to buttress North American relationships, along the lines of the Bilderberg or Wehrkunde conferences, organized to support transatlantic relations".

4) Creating a North American Inter-Parliamentary Group.

On this topic, the United States plays a key role due to its military and economic dominance. In order to encourage strong institutional ties with the two other countries, the Task Force recommends "that the bilateral meetings occur every other year and that the three North American partners form a trinational inter-parliamentary group to meet in the alternating year". (There are no recommendations for 2010)





Conclusion

The detailed nature of this program indicates the big effort made by the advocates of globalization to favor the emergence of a North American unified geo-economic bloc. As the promoters of this policy state: "The establishment by 2010 of a security and economic community for North America is an ambitious but achievable goal". The ongoing process should also be analyzed in relation with other emerging continental blocs, in particular with the European Union. The latter continues with its efforts to dismantle the nation-states in spite of the "No" to the referendum by France and the Netherlands. Faced by the resistance of some peoples, this world philosophy will increasingly put into practice methods to restrict individual liberties and to encourage an education system that, like a pedagogical Machiavelli, formats the minds according to its image. This dictatorship, highlighted by a technology that will continue to improve, will hound those who really oppose the system. Unfortunately, few people are already aware of that.

The official Report of the task force on Security and Prosperity Partnership Of North America can be downloaded from here

Pierre Hillard is a French writer on political affairs, His latest book is La Décomposition des nations européennes : De l'Union euro-Atlantique à l'État mondial (2005, François-Xavier de

This article was first published in French in

Balkans Infos

[1] "Comment le Conseil des relations étrangères détermine la diplomatie US", Voltaire, June 25, 2004.

See also http://www.spectrezine.org/LatinAmerica/Ramirez.htm