Canadian and Mexican leaders pledged to build stronger diplomatic and commercial relations, when they met at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, on the eve of the North American Leaders Summit in February.
During the meeting, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto agreed to build a broader and stronger relationship with their U.S. partner in the North American Free-Trade Agreement.
They also signed agreements covering increased airline access, cooperation on defense issues and an initiative by Canadian and Mexican export-credit agencies that aim to boost financing available for small to midsize businesses. Despite this, they did not provide any resolution to the Canadian policy that requires Mexicans visiting Canada to obtain a visa.
In 2009, the Canadian Government implemented the policy to dissuade bogus refugee claims from Mexico. According to Mr. Harper, the policy concerned matters of national security, dealing with illegal immigration. While adding that Ottawa was willing to discuss matters with Mexico City, he felt that the current policy was perfect in the present circumstances.
Another significant area that the leaders did not cover during the meeting concerned greater cooperation in the energy sector. Mexico aims to introduce landmark reforms in this sector, in an attempt to attract foreign investment, which would be of great interest to Canadian energy and energy-services providers.
Currently, bilateral trade between the two nations amounts to 30.9 billion Canadian dollars ($28.2 billion) – based on Canadian government data. About 75 percent of that comes from Mexican imports. Data also showed that the stock of Mexican direct investment in Canada amounted to C$121 million in 2011, which pales in comparison to the C$5.6 billion in Canadian investment in Mexico during the same period.
The policy has received immense criticism from both, the Canadian business lobby as well as Mexican policy makers and business operators. Barring expressing hope that further talks could help in resolving this matter, the leaders did not provide any concrete solutions. Thus, for the moment, Mexicans visiting Canada would need to continue applying for a visa.
Source: The Wall Street Journal