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Canada, the forgotten partner

The promotion activities undertaken by the Canadian business community, specially that of Quebec and the Maritime Provinces of Canada proved useful as the NAFTA included all three North American countries
Photo: Archive / EL UNIVERSAL
28/01/2017
22:57
Arnulfo R. Gómez
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Back in 1990, the need for a free trade agreement between Mexico and the U.S. was raised and it was Canada who noted the need for a trilateral agreement so as to prevent the U.S. from solely benefiting from access to the market of its neighboring countries.

In the end, the promotion activities undertaken by the Canadian business community, specially that of Quebec and the Maritime Provinces of Canada proved useful as the NAFTA included all three North American countries.

This was certainly a great success as the negotiating experience of the Canadians with the U.S. was a very important reference for Mexico's trade, as it created countless activities of commercial intelligence that began with meetings held with major Canadian companies to have access to the know-how of the negotiation scheme employed in the Free-Trade agreement between Canada and the U.S. (ALC). Such experience determined the adoption of the consulting system that was called “Room next door” and which continued with the recovery of the studies and efforts undertaken by Canada for the adoption of the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.

Such efforts and studies were provided to Mexican government agencies and were widely distributed among the Mexican business sector so as to make the Canadian and American structures known in terms of tariff and non-tariff barriers, the position held by both countries in said negotiations, as well as the programs that had already been established to ease Mexican business adaptation to the conditions created by the Free Trade agreement between Canada and the U.S.

Other commercial intelligence activities encompassed the ecology, steel, beer, wine and liquor, pharmaceutical, livestock genetics, dairy, patent, branding, foreign investment, financial institutions, air transport, fisheries, fiscal, unfair practices and anti-dumping taxation sectors.

The foundation to reform the Mexican Registry of Importers and for the creation of the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property was also provided.

All of these efforts allowed for countless investment projects in Mexico, before the enforcement of the NAFTA, such as outstanding projects with Bombardier, Quebecor, Cambior, among others, as well as vendor development projects with companies like Culinar, which started annual imports of 3 million pounds of frozen strawberry (US$1.8M) from Frexport.

Breen Brokerage imports of garlic, onion and melon for an annual value of US$1.4m, or McCain annual imports of orange juice for US$100,000, or Gemma-Suisse imports of shoe wear for US$1m, or Zellers imports of gloves (Magic Gloves) with an annual value of US$700,000, as well as other Canadian companies which imported balls, marbles, Christmas decorations, avocado, chemicals, potpurri scents, wine, soap with special designs, coffee for decaf production in the Valleyfield Plant, among others, proved that the initial drive was not continued and resulted in a reduction of Canada’s exports with our country from 3.01% in 1993 to 2.77% in 2015.

Undoubtedly, this is the direct result of a lack of a proper promotion policy that fails to acknowledgeacknowleges Canada as the important partner that it is for Mexico in the context of NAFTA, an agreement by which Mexico managed to have preferential access to a strategic regional market.

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Arnulfo R. Gómez is a former Trade Adviser of Mexico for Quebec and the Maritime Provinces of Canada.

 

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