Monday, September 28, 2009

U.S.-Canada Regional Economic and Energy Integration

By Dana Gabriel

Trilateral initiatives, such as NAFTA and the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) have further advanced North American integration. It is also at a state and provincial level that regional integration is being achieved in areas of trade, the environment and energy.

The 33rd Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers was held in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada on September 14-15 and was co-chaired by host Premier Shawn Graham and Maine Governor John Baldacci. Throughout the years, the governors and premiers have forged a partnership and expanded economic ties, including cooperation on energy and environmental issues. At each conference, policy resolutions are enacted which call on actions by the state and provincial governments, as well as by the two national governments. The current global financial crisis has placed more focus on finding collaborative regional approaches to economic and energy issues. The recent conference included resolutions concerning the green economy, renewable energy, climate change, energy efficiency, pandemic preparedness and open and secure trade. Regional leaders endorsed a blueprint for the region’s energy future.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Expanding the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas

By Dana Gabriel

The Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas, which some have dubbed PPA, was first launched by the Bush administration in September of 2008 in an effort to further deepen existing economic partnerships in the region. Many speculated that it was a last ditch effort by Bush to resurrect a revised version of the failed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The Obama administration has continued with the PPA and is set to re-launch and expand the initiative which would lead to greater integration in the Americas. Some aspects of the PPA are similar to the defunct Security and Prosperity Partnership and could spread SPP objectives to other parts of the Western Hemisphere.

At the Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial held in El Salvador on May 31, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged support for the PPA. She stated, “President Obama has emphasized that it's not important whether ideas come from one party or another, so long as they move us in the right direction. This meeting builds on the work of the previous U.S. administration, but the President and I are also committed to re-launching Pathways to Prosperity, and expanding its work to spread the benefits of economic recovery, growth, and open markets to the most vulnerable and marginalized citizens of our region.” It appears as if the Obama administration wishes to put their own stamp of approval on the PPA and further expand it.