Canada, Mexico sign accords to relaunch ties

Ottawa, June 29 (IANS) Canada and Mexico sealed their reconciliation with the cancellation by Ottawa of the requirement for Mexicans to have a visa to enter the country and the full reopening of the Latin American country to Canadian meat products.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke of the reconciliation following talks here on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s Summit of North American Leaders, where they will be joined by US President Barack Obama, EFE news reported.

During the joint press conference in which Trudeau and Pena Nieto announced the new accords, they admitted the damage done by the visa requirement, imposed six years ago by the Conservative government of then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“Since 2009 a barrier has been imposed and today with great political will we are knocking it down,” Pena Nieto said after describing Trudeau as “a good friend” and recalling that he was the first Mexican President to make a state visit to Canada in 15 years.

The visa requirement, imposed unexpectedly and unilaterally by Canada as Mexicans’ pleas for refuge increased, put a freeze on relations between the two countries.

Tensions increased as the Harper government refused to revoke the measure despite that steps taken to restrict the arrival of Mexicans seeking refuge.

Relations became so bad that Harper twice cancelled the Summit of North American Leaders to avoid meeting with the Mexican president.

Bilateral relations only began to improve with the victory of Trudeau and the Liberal Party in the general elections of October 2015.

In an atmosphere of renewed understanding, Mexico has accepted opening its borders to Canadian beef products, which have been severely limited since the appearance in 2003 of the first case of mad-cow disease in Canadian cattle.

Pena Nieto said the opening of the Mexican market to Canadian beef products will take place from October.

–IANS

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