NACC wants back into North American talks

No one asked them what they thought but the CEOs formerly known as the North American Competitiveness Council are telling us anyway. The NACC released a third report today on the eve of the Guadalajara leaders' summit August 9-10. "No matter what form the partnership may take, we encourage governments to continue to consult with the private sector in all three countries," they write. "The NACC stands ready to provide advice and assistance to governments as they work together to strengthen the security and prosperity of North America." I'm sure they do. Question is whether those governments will let them back in.

"The North American Competitiveness Council (NACC) is a group of business leaders from Canada, Mexico, and the United States formed in 2006 to gather advice from the private sector on ways to enhance North America's competitive position, promote increased employment, and foster a higher standard of living," claims the new report.

"The private sector is key to enhancing North America's competitive position in global markets and is a driving force behind innovation and growth. The experience of the NACC over the past three years demonstrates the clear benefits of close cooperation among North America's business communities as well as its governments."

It also displayed an unheard of disprespect for democracy in Canada, the United States and Mexico as the CEOs were the only group consulted on North American priorities. By now we can all probably recite by heart Obama's promise to make the summits more inclusive and open to environmental, labour and human rights groups. But none of the governments have taken any steps toward that promise.

The NACC report, for whatever it's worth, makes several recommendations that can be summed up as follows:

- We don't like protectionism and are happy G20 countries don't like it either.

- We don't like "Buy American" policies because they're protectionist.

- We don't like provincial and municipal "buy local" policies in Canada because... yeah, you guessed it.

- Mexican transport trucks should be allowed freely across all borders.

- Clean energy cooperation is good but cheap energy and maintaining competitiveness is better.

- Further security and military cooperation to fight drugs and organized crime is needed.

- "We must take full advantage of new technologies, invest in border infrastructure, enhance regulatory cooperation, increase training, and expand shared enforcement initiatives..."

- We should keep planning for pandemics.

And then the final pitch:

Trilateral cooperation on borders, regulation, energy, and other important issues is essential to the prosperity and security of North America. We and the business communities we represent trust that our advice to date has assisted Leaders in choosing priorities and driving progress. Going forward, the NACC stands ready to offer our ideas and expertise, and we hope the three governments will continue to consult with the NACC.

A bird cage liner if I've ever seen one. Wonder if our leaders will think so too?

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