TOLUCA, Mexico, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Mexico, Canada and the United States vow to position the region as a global competitor, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told business and academic leaders.
The principals of the seventh summit of North American leaders are clear, Pena Nieto told the group Wednesday in Toluca, Mexico.
"First, inclusive and shared prosperity. Number two, new opportunity areas. Number three, citizen security. And fourth, regional and global topics," he said through an interpreter. "It is upon these four topics [that] we will work together to boost the economic growth of our countries and a generation of quality jobs, and by this, increase the well-being of our societies."
Canada, the United States and Mexico share strengths that will move the region forward, Pena Nieto said, noting trade exchanges from the three countries exceed $1 trillion.
"We are a community of more than 450 million inhabitants where talent and creativity of our peoples excel," he said. We have the support and drive of "our entrepreneurs and the capabilities of technological innovation coming from our universities and large companies."
President Obama said he, Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper were focused on "how we can deepen what are already incredible ties between our three nations. ... The strength of the relationship between Canada, Mexico and the United States is not just a matter of government policy; it's not just a matter of legislation."
"There is an incredible richness to the relationship that comes from our people, from our businesses, from our commercial ties, from the students who are traveling back and forth, from the cultures that are shared between us," Obama said.
The relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico is a "precious gift," the U.S. president added.
"If you think about North America, to have three borders this long in which we share a common set of values, a common set of principles, a commitment to democracy, a commitment to free markets, a commitment to trade where we are allies and interact peacefully, that is a precious gift," he said. "And it's one that I think all three of us are committed to building and nurturing for future generations."
Harper said Canadian, American and Mexican companies "do much more than sell things to each other" because items are manufactured through integrated supply chains.
This integration "is why we want to tighten our relationships and increase the competitiveness in the region. And we call on the entrepreneurs ... throughout the continent to create employment seedbeds."
"Today we have this opportunity to make this North American market more competitive," Harper said. "You are entrepreneurs, you are job creators, employment creators all over this continent."