U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today highlighted the importance of the economic relationship between the United States, Canada, and Mexico during a luncheon at the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference (NACIC) in San Diego. As part of NACIC, Secretary Pritzker participated in a moderated armchair discussion with Canadian Minister of International Trade Ed Fast and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo, during which she addressed how we can build on the progress that we have made under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to make North America the most innovative and competitive region on the planet.
"We're here to talk about how continued cooperation between our three nations can benefit our mutual economic growth and prosperity," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. "We've come a long way since the implementation of NAFTA. In fact, last year, trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico was more than $1 trillion, and NAFTA helped to usher in an era of unprecedented regional cooperation on a broad range of issues that have benefited our countries. We must continue to work together in new and creative ways to maintain North America's position as the most innovative and competitive region in the global economy."
During the discussion, Secretary Pritzker highlighted many of the advantages that North America enjoys, including the sheer size of our market, which consists of more than 460 million consumers today and is projected to grow to 630 million by 2060. Further, the combined GDP of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico was $18.7 trillion in 2012, which accounts for one-quarter of the world's GDP, and North America is a source of abundant and affordable energy and has a skilled, productive, and affordable workforce. The continent also has made tremendous investments in research, development, and innovation that will pay dividends in the future.
Beyond the competitive advantages that North America maintains, Secretary Pritzker also spoke about areas where the U.S., Canada, and Mexico can work together to make the region even more competitive. These areas include aligning our regulations in certain areas, working together to promote inbound investment into the region, spurring economic development along the border, supporting entrepreneurship, and promoting tourism to the continent as a whole.
In addition to the armchair discussion, Secretary Pritzker also held a private trilateral meeting with Minister Fast and Secretary Guajardo. The three ministers agreed to work on a constructive agenda to strengthen the trade and economic relationship between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Following her participation in NACIC, Secretary Pritzker visited San Ysidro, the busiest land port of entry in the Western Hemisphere. The port handles pedestrian and vehicle traffic and is critical to the economy of San Diego and the surrounding area. The port is currently being modernized to better facilitate traffic through San Ysidro.