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Canadian and Mexican leaders to discuss friendlier travel policy

There is a pacture of a plane still grounded with a beautiful sunset in the background.
24 Feb 2014

Canada and Mexico have steadily become important business partners. There are many variables involved in international agreements that help facilitate manufacturing in Mexico. However, for every trade-friendly regulation, there are regularly an equal number of policies that can restrict greater collaboration and business opportunities. Accordingly, Canada and Mexico have begun working on an initiative that would make it easier for business officials and employees to travel between the two countries, according to The Globe and Mail.

Meeting to highlight need for greater cooperation
Mexican Ambassador to Canada Francisco Suarez explained that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican Presidents Enrique Peña Nieto would discuss the proposal alongside U.S. President Barack Obama during an upcoming summit in Mexico. Talks between the two nations initially began in 2011 but never reached fruition, and the reinvigorated agreement should bolster international transit. Ambassador Suarez explained direct flights between Calgary and Mexico City would benefit both tourists and business travelers.

In particular, Canadian enterprises interested in energy exploration, - as a result of extensive reforms - seek to work with Mexican firms to provide their expertise,The Globe and Mail reported. Canadian energy firms are reportedly eager to collaborate with their Mexican counterparts to investigate shale gas deposits, in addition to the oil reserves in the deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Canadian and Mexican businesses look for easing visa restrictions
One point of contention between the two countries that many business leaders are working to resolve is the visa requirement that Mexicans face when trying to enter Canada. The Canadian Press explained the Canadian Council for Chief Executives has indicated the 2009 policy is an obstacle for greater cooperation between the two nations. Laura Dawson, a trade policy expert, created a report outlining the issues the Canadian business community has with the existing visa requirement. Dawson advised Canadian immigration policy makers to let Mexican citizens who have a valid U.S. visa pass through the border.

In addition to smothering international trade, the visa restriction also limits economic growth from tourism for Canada. The Canadian Press cited Dawson's report which found Mexican tourists brought in roughly $365 million to the country in 2008, while the figure dropped to $200 million in 2012. Mexican travelers to Canada must provide family and financial documentation before they're allowed into the country, a policy that arose from a suspicion that too many people were entering through fraudulent refugee claims.

"If we're going to have a new aviation agreement that liberalizes airplane movement between Canada and Mexico, it's theoretically so we increase the movement of people both ways," Ambassador Suarez told The Globe and Mail.

Meanwhile, the focus of the Canadian prime minister's visit to Mexico will largely be on strengthening Mexico's energy sector through increased cooperation between businesses and stakeholders. The two countries will likely discuss strategies to improve infrastructure required to better capitalize on Mexico's oil resources, which will ultimately benefit manufacturers in Mexico. In addition, President Peña Nieto will visit Calgary in June to discuss business opportunities.

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