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The North American Leaders Summit
August 10, 2009
05:09 PM EDT
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Continuing his efforts to strengthen partnerships with North American leaders, the President has been in Guadalajara, Mexico the past two days at the North American Leaders Summit. Joined by Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama described the spirit of the summit, "Indeed, in the 21st century, North America is defined not simply by our borders, but by our bonds."
In this vein, the summit centered on trilateral discussions on issues of mutual concern, including the global economy, energy and climate change, security and safety, as well as continued cooperation to fight the H1N1 pandemic. At a press conference today featuring the three leaders, President Obama discussed the importance of cooperation in confronting these shared challenges:
First, we agreed that we had to work together to restore our common prosperity. The global recession has cost jobs and hurt families from Toronto to Toledo to Tijuana. So we renew our commitment to work together in Ottawa, Washington and Mexico City. Building on our progress at the G8 and G20 summits, we agreed to continue to take aggressive, coordinated action to restore economic growth and create jobs for our workers, including workers in the North American auto industry.
Because so much of our common prosperity and millions of jobs depend on trade that flows across our borders – billions of dollars worth of trade every day – we reaffirmed the need to reject protectionism. We recommitted ourselves to the infrastructure investments, the common-sense regulations and intellectual property protections upon which trade thrives. We are among each other's largest trading partners. As we work together towards lasting prosperity, we need to expand that trade, not restrict it.
I would note that our common prosperity also depends on orderly, legal migration. All three of our nations have been enriched by our ties of family and community. I think of my own brother-in law who's Canadian. I think of the many Mexican Americans from Jalisco who found a home in Los Angeles and Texas and in my hometown of Chicago. At the same time, Americans, Mexicans and Canadians all expect their borders to be safe and secure. And that is why 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.
And because our future prosperity also depends on clean energy economies, we built on our bilateral efforts to invest in renewable energy and green jobs, and we recommitted ourselves to the historic goals announced last month in Italy. Nations like the United States and Canada will take the lead by reducing emissions by 80 percent by 2050, and we will work with other nations to cut global emissions in half. Indeed, we made progress toward the concrete goals that will be negotiated at the Copenhagen climate change summit in December. And I again want to commend Mexico for its leadership in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and President Calderón for his innovative proposals to help developing countries build clean, sustainable economies.
Second, we reiterated our abiding commitment to the common safety and security of our people. In response to the H1N1 pandemic, our three governments have worked closely, collaboratively and responsibly. With science as our guide, we resolved to continue taking all necessary preparations and precautions to prepare for the upcoming flu season and protect the health of our people. And this challenge transcends borders and so must our response.
We also resolved to continue confronting the urgent threat to our common security from the drug cartels that are causing so much violence and death in our countries. As I've said on many occasions, I heartily commend President Calderón and his government for their determination and courage in taking on these cartels. And the President reaffirmed his government's commitment to transparency, accountability and human rights as they wage this difficult but necessary fight.
The United States will remain a full partner in this effort. We will work to make sure Mexico has the support it needs to dismantle and defeat the cartels. And the United States will also meet its responsibilities by continuing our efforts to reduce the demand for drugs and continuing to strengthening the security of our shared border – not only to protect the American people, but to stem the illegal southbound flow of American guns and cash that helps fuel this extraordinary violence.
Third, we reaffirmed our abiding commitment to our common values, including peace, democracy and human rights. And in particular, we discussed the coup in Honduras. As has been mentioned, our three nations stand united on this issue. President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president. For the sake of the Honduran people, democratic and constitutional order must be restored. And we will continue to work with others, especially the Organization of American States, to achieve a negotiated and peaceful solution.