Canada

What happens when you put together three countries which account for nearly a quarter of the world economy, with trade exchanges worth $1tn a year? Ever greater competitiveness, prosperity and dynamism – that, at least, was the message from the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico at their annual summit.

And Barack Obama, Stephen Harper and Enrique Peña Nieto – the “Three Amigos” – stuck relentlessly to the script, highlighting trade flows, the prospect for cooperation in security, competitiveness, greater educational and science exchanges, deeper integrated manufacturing supply chains. 

By Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas

In office barely a year, Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto is pursuing aggressive reforms for breakout growth through greater competitiveness. Washington should do all it can to help him succeed, because Mexico’s expansion is good for the US.

Already our second largest export market after Canada, US imports from Mexico contain some 40 per cent of US content (from China it’s 4 per cent). In many industries, joint production and supply chains have developed to such an extent that we don’t just trade things together, now we design and make things together, in high value-added products like aerospace, automobiles, and sophisticated medical equipment. Production in Mexico and a growing middle class creates good jobs in the US and vice versa, increasing economies of scale and building North American competitiveness in the face of continued competition from China and elsewhere. 

Energy-hungry importers across Asia complain about an “Asian premium” in gas prices. India and Japan are even mulling clubbing together to cut costs.

But could such moves stymie major investment plans to move new gas supplies from west to east? Canada worries that they just might. 

It’s not often that the cities of Kuala Lumpur and Ottawa are mentioned in the same sentence. Yet the Malaysian and Canadian capitals, respectively, are at the centre of an intriguing dilemma for emerging market watchers.

Petronas, the state-owned Malaysian oil and gas group, is waiting to see whether its C$5.5bn ($5.5bn) bid for Progress Energy, a Canadian operator of huge shale gas fields, will pass muster with the Canadian authorities.