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Kerry Meets With Canada Foreign Minister & Mexico Foreign Secretary

World Affairs – United States, Canada, Mexico
open eyes opinion {source: US/State Department}

Remarks With Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and Mexican Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Faneuil Hall
Boston, Massachusetts
January 31, 2015

I am really delighted today to be able to welcome my friends from North America, my counterparts from Canada and Mexico. It is a real pleasure to have John and Pepe here, and I personally am really delighted to be able to welcome them to the great City of Boston. This is a special city, and not just because it is my hometown, obviously, and certainly not just because it will be represented in a certain athletic competition tomorrow. But from the time of the original patriots, I had the pleasure earlier today of giving a little bit of the history of Faneuil Hall and the Revolution. We just ate over at the Union Oyster House where there’s a panoply of panels that reflect the journey of the revolution, so we’ve been able to not just share a great meal but to share a little bit of history.

And from the time of the original patriots, to the rise of the movement to abolish slavery, to the more recent days of “Boston Strong,” to the swearing-in of new citizens right here in this hall this coming week, Boston is a city that has always stood for honor, for courage, and freedom. And those are the exact same values that bind the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

On that note, I want to take a moment to express my condolences publicly, as I did privately to Foreign Minister Meade, our condolences to the Mexican people for the tragic explosion in a maternity hospital outside of Mexico City on Thursday morning. As I told Foreign Secretary Meade, we are willing to help in any way that we can, and already we know that one of the victims has been flown to Texas for treatment. And we’re happy to try to provide any assistance that we can, Pepe.

I also want to thank our neighbors to the north as we recover across Massachusetts and beyond from a record-breaking storm. Canadian crews very quickly answered the call to assist in the cleanup efforts, and we’re very grateful to them.

As we struggle to respond to these events, it’s more than fair to say that we are neighbors who act like neighbors should.

And we are three nations not separated, but in fact brought together by peaceful borders and close family ties. And we’re working as partners to build a safe, sustainable, and prosperous North America and inter-American community, and combine our strengths in order to deal with a host of global challenges.

One such challenge which we discussed this morning is, of course, violent extremism. The United States grieved for Canada after the terrorist attacks in Ottawa and Quebec last fall. And we, of course, are seared by our memory of our own painful experiences, and Mexico has too often seen brutal violence within its borders. All three governments are determined to protect our citizens through vigilance, the sharing of information, and the support that we provide to partners overseas in order to fight this violence at its roots.

We want to be clear: There are no grounds of history, religion, ideology, politics, or economic disadvantage that justify terrorism.

And so this afternoon, John and Pepe and I discussed the range of efforts that are underway to defeat violent extremism wherever and whenever it occurs. We took note of the important success of our anti-ISIL coalition that we had in Kobani, where today Daesh was forced to acknowledge its own defeat. We have a long way to go in the overall campaign, but Daesh – ISIL, as some know it – has said all along that Kobani was a real symbolic and strategic objective.

They said so themselves; they defined it as such. So pushing them out of there is a big deal. And make no mistake: We will also use the same tools that we used to get there – the tools of cooperation and support – to defeat violent transnational criminal organizations and ensure that the rule of law thrives for all of our people.

Together we’re also taking steps to grow our economies in ways that are both inclusive and sustainable. Every single day, the United States does more than $3 billion in trade with our North American partners.

Commerce between Canada and the City of Boston tops 7 billion annually. Boston’s trade with Mexico is another 4.5 billion. Canada and Mexico have invested more than 300 billion in the United States, and I’m looking forward to visiting one of those investments this evening when the three of us head for the Canadian-owned TD Bank Center to watch the Bruins beat the LA Kings.

The fact is that if any of us want to compete in the global marketplace today, we have to make it easier for trade and investment to take place across our borders. Exports to our NAFTA partners support nearly 3 million American jobs.

To create more, we need to do more. And new trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would bring more growth and wider prosperity to all nations that participate, are the centerpiece of those efforts.

TPP is a state-of-the-art agreement that would connect more than 40 percent of global GDP and one-third of global trade. But more than that, it will also raise standards; it will create a race to the top, not a race to the bottom. And that’s true whether we’re talking about agriculture, manufacturing, intellectual property, or ensuring that state-owned enterprises compete fairly with private companies.
Now, this isn’t just a technical trade agreement.

It’s a huge strategic opportunity, and that’s the way we defined it here today in our discussions. The United States, Canada, and Mexico are determined to seize this opportunity together.

Ultimately, the true test for our economies is not just whether we grow, but it is how we grow. With an eye towards preserving and sustaining our planet – and that means dealing with the issues of climate change and the environment in the Arctic – so we continued our trilateral conversations today on clean energy, which is essential to mitigating the harmful effects of global climate change.

This is a battle that we can and must win. Secretary Baird was very eloquent in the – Minister Baird was eloquent in his statements about the impact of climate change.

And here in Massachusetts we have a perfect case study of what clean energy in the economy can mean, thanks to smart investments and a regulatory environment that sends a strong and reliable, responsible signal. The business community here, the clean tech community is already a $10 billion part of the economy of this state, and it’s still expanding. And what is working here, I promise you, is working elsewhere.

The United States, Canada, and Mexico have a shared responsibility that transcends any one particular project, and we all agreed today we have a great opportunity to join together in a North American energy partnership that can actually lead the way towards a clean energy future.

This is not a tradeoff between our environment and our economies. Quite the opposite; getting this right is a major, major economic opportunity for those who are smart enough to seize it. And that means strong mitigation targets, strong domestic climate policies, strong commitment to working together to achieve a new global agreement on climate change this December in Paris is good for all of our economies, and we agreed 100 percent on how important it is.

Finally, our discussions today also faced up squarely to our responsibility to stand up for and fight for our shared commitment to democratic values and human rights, the strengthening of the OAS and the inter-American system, and the importance of preparing for a successful Summit of the Americas in Panama in April.

We are determined to make that gathering a meaningful one by focusing on practical solutions to tough problems and by supporting improved governance, the active role of an independent civil society, and solidarity in the face of such threats as organized crime.

I note that Cuba will be a participant at this summit. Our new approach to Cuba will empower the Cuban people to determine their own future, and we look forward to working with Mexico, Canada, and the inter-American community to advance respect for human rights in Cuba.

In closing, let me just repeat my words of welcome to my colleagues who genuinely have become good friends. We have worked together now for two years on so many different issues, and we’ve gotten to know each other, respect each other, like each other, and really enjoy the process of trying to put good policy in place. So it’s great to have you here.

I know that Bostonians are delighted that you could come, proud to have you here as our guests. We recognize good neighbors when we see them and work with them, and we very much hope that despite the cold you enjoy your stay.

Thank you very much, John. It’s a great pleasure for me to be here in Boston with Canada’s North American neighbors. I’d especially like to thank you, John, for your warm hospitality and inviting us here and having us in your home yesterday. You know we knew the meeting was over last night when you said, “Get out of my house.” But seriously, this has been an important opportunity for us to take some time to really dig into a number of key regional and global issues.

The United States, Mexico, and Canada are allies and partners in North America, but also throughout the world. Everybody is a winner when we work together. I am therefore delighted that we have found time to discuss together of all these issues.

John and Pepe and I have had very useful discussions focused on economic competitiveness, on job creation, on energy, and regional and security cooperation. Canada is actively seeking to expand even further our trade and investment ties across North America.

This means jobs and it means growth for all of us. By strengthening the foundations here at home in North America, we can make sure our peoples enjoy sustainable prosperity for years to come. Of course, a huge part of that will involve the energy sector, and energy is at the leading edge of the North American cooperation.

We are blessed with huge natural resources. With determination and Mexico’s historic reforms to its energy sector, we could make this a North American decade, as David Petraeus has put it.

And as you know, in the spirit of North American cooperation, Canada is very keen to make sure that we don’t delay in building the important infrastructure that we need. Where there is a need for North American energy imports, they should be filled with North American resources.

And finally on security issues, I believe that terrorism is the great struggle of our generation, and no nation is somehow immune to that. Sadly, this great city knows the impact of terrorism far too well, as does my hometown of Ottawa. I was truly grateful that John came up to Ottawa within days of the October attacks to show his solidarity with the Canadian people and to pay his respects. We all have to do what we can to stop the cancer of terrorism.

On the home front, yesterday Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced new anti-terror laws to give our security agencies the tools they need to keep Canadians safe. On the global level, we reiterate here today that the dangerous cult, the death cult that is ISIL, or Daesh, is an outrageous affront to our values and an outrageous affront to basic humanity.

We share deep concerns about Russian-sponsored violence in Ukraine which has resulted in the deaths of another 15 Ukrainian soldiers in just the past 24 hours. We also had a session on cyber security, which is something we’re all grappling with more and more. So I think it’s been a genuinely productive couple of days, and I look forward to broadening discussions when we meet with our hemispheric neighbors at the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

We want to acknowledge the truly historic change in American policy with respect to Cuba. We are a country who believes that the more Americans, American values, American capitalism that permeates Cuba, the freer the Cuban people will be. And not only was it about time, but it actually was at the perfect time that this important reform and this change in policy was made.

This evening, I’m looking forward to see the Bruins take on the Kings. With your recent weather and a hockey game, I want to tell you, John, I feel right at home. Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup.

Thank you. Good afternoon. We are very, very grateful to our great host, Secretary Kerry, for having us visit his beautiful hometown. He has been a host and has shared with us his love for this city, for this state, for this community, and it’s a love that’s really contagious.

The first thing that we agreed in this trilateral is that subsequent winter meetings will be held further down south. So we will continue to visit when the climate is probably better. But I think it’s fair to say that holding these trilaterals in Mexico during the winter might be a preferable alternative in the near future.

We arrived at this summit with very clear ideas that North America is a part of us. And in our agenda we realize that behind each of the topics, there is the idea of North America and the advantage that we face all this with this perspective.

It’s also clear that in the case of commerce there are many advantages that we have to face the world with our trade. In the specific example of TPP, Mexico has participated in negotiations. The fact that we’re together with our commercial and trade partners in North America so that we can push from this point of view a trade agreement before which we are truly committed.

We believe that climate change offers great advantages if it’s presented as a North American topic, and if North America presents itself to the world with a region – as a region that has public policies that will help us face climate change.

Likewise in the field of health, we identify that the fact that North America has faced these pandemics and has given us lessons so that we can make sure that our coordination is even wider. We want to make sure that we strengthen our capacities before such threats as Ebola.

We spoke about cyber security and the logic that it’s an additional dimension on which we have to coordinate ourselves so that North America becomes a cyber-safe region.

And Mexico wants to take advantage of this opportunity to dialogue, to recognize, and thank the decisions in terms of immigration have been taken by President Obama. We will be very sure to be providing information to our population and to our communities so that nobody is – doesn’t understand the benefits this new policy change.

Like Canada, Mexico wants to recognize what has been done in our space, and the change – but in the terms of the dialogue that has begun between the United States and Cuba. This doesn’t mean that we’re renouncing anything.

We’re not renouncing our principles, our values. On the contrary, we know that dialogue is the best pathway to find a future full of prosperity and peace. We spoke about that and this new encounter, this new enthusiasm in the North American region with the United States and Central America.

I’m sure that all the resources will help to make sure that there is a greater prosperity in that region, peace inclusion both in Mexico as well as North America. We also spoke about the importance of many other elements.

But we depart this meeting convinced that Mexico, Canada, and the United States can benefit from the idea of North America. We come away convinced that looking at things from a North America way, with a North American lens, with a North American perspective, we can present ourselves as a united front in the global economy and on global issues.

We believe, Mexico believes, that our strength comes from working together, and we are convinced that as any good neighbors, we have much to benefit from each other with the conviction that it is together that we will prosper.

So thank you again, Secretary Kerry. It’s been a pleasure, Secretary Baird. Last time we spoke, we said that NAFTA had done a lot of things well, except for soccer in Canada and hockey in Mexico. So today, they’re going to teach me lessons in hockey to see whether we can implement some cooperation programs there. Thank you.

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