from bloomberg: President George W. Bush and the leaders of Canada and Mexico are using a summit meeting today in New Orleans to defend free trade and $930 billion in cross-border commerce against a political backlash. It won’t be easy. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon have each made lowering trade barriers, cutting regulation and supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement a hallmark of their administrations and will make the case with Bush for those policies.
“All three governments want to push back on the perception that Nafta is a disaster,” said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, a business-backed group that will meet with the leaders tomorrow. “The overriding political imperative is the support of Nafta.” Bush and Calderon reopened the Mexican consulate in New Orleans today, a move they heralded as a sign of both the recovery following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and of the close economic ties between the two countries.” Mexico and the United States are working together to build a future of prosperity and opportunity for people on both sides of the border,” Bush said.