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SPP too “narrowly focused” says U.S. government briefing on Guadalajara summit

A press briefing today hints again at the possibility North American leaders will drop only the name “SPP” when they meet in Guadalajara for the fifth annual leaders’ summit this weekend. Calling the meeting an “opportunity for the leaders to engage on a broad range of issues that are important to North America hemispherically and globally,” one U.S. official says “this is the first time they’re going to get together as a group to focus on these issues and not be as narrowly focused as the SPP.”

Narrowly focused? The first draft had over 300 policy suggestions for closer integration of security, energy, environmental, health, regulatory, financial, military, foreign and international trade policy. Even if they tried to hone it down over the years — unsuccessfully, many proponents argue — you could never say the focus was narrow, which leaves me wondering where else the Obama administration thinks they can take this dialogue.

Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Afairs Michael Froman had this to say on the economic front:

We expect the leaders will talk about the global economy and the status of the global economy in preparation for the Pittsburgh summit. They’re likely to discuss what needs to be done to assure a shared recovery and to reform the international financial institutions, and to lay the foundations for future growth. They’ll discuss competitiveness and the competitiveness of North America and how to enhance it, including by taking advantage of the proximity of the countries to each other and their complementary resources, and potentially areas of small but cumbersome impediments to further integration.

While National Security Council Senior Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs Daniel Restopo (quoted at top) added the following:

Very important work was carried out under the SPP. Pandemic cooperation that put us in a good place to respond to 2009 H1N1 was a produce of the SPP process. That kind of trilateral cooperation goes on on a regular basis. We are encouraging that to continue. We see the summit itself as an opportunity for the leaders to focus on strategic vision on how to better coordinate and better operationalize our activities on these core issues that this summit will focus on. So we see this as additive to the nature of the summits as they’ve been in the past.

Additives, not altnernatives, to past summits. Joint optimal use of North American resources. Removing impediments to further integration. Sounds like the SPP in all but name.