Canada Vs. Mexico: Who will prevail in the North American trade wars?

To the north lies Canada, and to the south, Mexico. One of these two nations will triumph in the trade war that has been brewing in North America for decades, but which one will it be?

In 1990, leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States began negotiating a free trade agreement that would be known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canada had just signed a free trade agreement with the United States in 1988 (FTA) when the US, under President George H. W. Bush, began to negotiate another pact with Mexico under President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

The Canadian government under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney feared that the advantages Canada had through the Canada-US FTA would be undermined, and asked to become a party to the US-Mexican talks. The result was that NAFTA replaced the previous Canada-US FTA. An agreement was reached between all three nations and NAFTA came into effect on 1 January 1994.[1] Since NAFTA has come into force, the two countries have become much more important to each other, and often collaborate when dealing with the United States.

Relations between the two governments were particularly strong during the first decade of the twenty-first century. In October 2006, then President-elect Felipe Calderón visited Ottawa, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the inauguration of President Calderón. The two leaders were ideological allies, both being pro-market conservatives, Calderón of the National Action Party and Harper of the Conservative Party.

In November 2012, President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto also chose to visit Ottawa as a president-elect before taking the presidential oath. In an editorial in the Globe and Mail on that occasion Peña Nieto characterized the relationship before 1994 as one of “mutual benign neglect” but praised the increase in trade and travel between the two countries since NAFTA. He called for increased Canadian foreign direct investment in Mexico, especially in the petroleum industry, though he said that Petróleos Mexicanos, the state oil company, would remain the owner of the resources.

As well he called “North American energy security” a “common goal” of both countries. He also pledged to work to reduce drug-related violence in the country and protect visiting Canadians. He also asked Canadians to reconsider a 2009 decision requiring Mexicans to have visas before coming to Canada