National Press Club

North American Experts Offer Obama Advice at Newsmaker

February 11, 2009 | By Peter Hickman

As President Obama readied for his first foreign presidential trip to Canada Feb. 19, "transborder" experts from the U.S., Canada and Mexico told a Feb. 10 Newsmaker that his administration should strengthen U.S. partnerships with its two neighbors on a range of issues confronting them all.

The issues are highlighted in a report released at the Newsmaker by the North American Center for Transborder Studies, a consortium of American, Canadian and Mexican universities, entitled "North America Next: Memo to President Obama--Building Sustainable Security and Competitiveness."

The issues include border security, trade, energy, labor transportation and infrastructure and environmental protection.

Speakers were NACTS Director Rick Van Schoik, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, Mexican embassy economics counselor Antonio Ortiz-Mena, and Colin Robertson of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs.

The report says the Obama administration has "a unique opportunity to focus not only on trinational challenges in continental relations, but also internal challenges with a public that is highly skeptical about competitivenes and security issues."