Curtis: What regional and/or international challenges are most pressing for the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, respectively?

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21 February, 2014
By: John Curtis
Adjunct Professor at Queen's University and Chair of Statistics Canada's Advisory Committee on International Trade Statistics

One of the most pressing problems—perhaps the most important from my perspective as an economist—is how to catch up to the European Union and emerging Asian market in terms of improved competitiveness, productivity, and skills. NAFTA has been comatose for well over a decade with the rest-of-the-world catching up or moving ahead of us.

Some of this problem is US concern with security over commercial interests alongside a gradual erosion of US leadership and confidence. This begs the question of whether the lack of progress is primarily cultural or psychological rather than policy-related. With that said, austerity pressures here in Canada and gridlock in the US Congress only add to the problems associated with embarking upon regional partnerships. We’re all also missing the “vision thing” and that is unlikely to be remedied by one Summit!

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