North America is the most competitive region in the world – demonstrably more so than any other economic area. The economies of Mexico, Canada, and the United States are complementary, and our industries have leaned into the advantages of integrated service sectors, supply networks, and manufacturing platforms.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which came into effect in July 2020, offers a modern framework for deeper economic integration over the coming decade and introduces an important new perspective – how the North American partners compete together in the world.
The George W. Bush Institute – SMU Economic Growth Initiative convened a broad and diverse group of North American experts to discuss how the new North American Competitiveness Committee created in USMCA’s Chapter 26 can prioritize its agenda and work with stakeholders to ensure our workers and producers benefit fully from the agreement while strengthening the region’s competitiveness.
Specifically, we recommend the Competitiveness Committee pursue initiatives in three priority areas:
Prepare workers for a competitive future through a community-driven approach, including raising skill levels and creating portable credentials, learning from community-level approaches to competitive adjustment, maximizing opportunities for digital trade, supporting culturally and economically bi-national border communities, and revisiting targeted visa improvements.
Deploy technologies to move digital and physical products and services more efficiently, including creating a trilateral working group to undertake holistic infrastructure planning, gathering more and better real-time data to inform infrastructure investment decisions, exploring innovative financing options for border infrastructure, and routinely benchmarking North America’s border infrastructure against the rest of the world.
Confront the China challenge, including sharing information and coordinating key policies vis-à-vis China such as intellectual property rights prosecutions, use of export controls, and foreign direct investment reviews, mitigating risks to the regional supply of critical minerals, deepening regulatory cooperation to shore up North America’s energy advantage, and undertaking work to map North American supply networks of “essential” goods and services with a view to developing greater resilience and effective emergency coordination.
Matthew Rooney, Managing Director, Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, George W. Bush Institute