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The Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL) is no longer in operation. This website documents FOCAL's activities and accomplishments throughout its existence. Thank you for your interest in the work of FOCAL.

Calderón to conduct visit to Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently announced that Mexican President Felipe Calderón is scheduled to visit Canada from May 26 to 28. Harper said that the state visit underscores the strong and enduring friendship between Canada and Mexico. “Mexico is a partner with Canada in North America, a key ally for Canada’s engagement in the Americas and an important interlocutor multilaterally,” highlighted Harper. The two leaders will meet in Ottawa and will discuss trade, investment and competitiveness as well as flows of people, hemispheric affairs, security, environment and new sources of energy, according to a Mexican news release. Calderón is also set to address Parliament during his visit, participate in a working meeting with the Governor General Michaëlle Jean and meet with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.

Calderón to visit Washington

Mexican President Felipe Calderón is slated to visit Washington from May 19 to 20. This marks his first state visit to the United States since U.S. President Barack Obama took office. Calderón is scheduled to engage in talks with Obama and other U.S. lawmakers and officials, said the Mexican Presidency. The U.S. president will also host a state dinner in light of the visit; this is the second state dinner for a foreign leader since the start of his presidency. Robert Gibbs, a spokesperson, said the dinner was in recognition of the deep ties and strong relationship between the two leaders. The two presidents will be discussing border infrastructure, co-operation against cross-border organized crime, immigration and trade, among other issues. The visit comes at a time of tension over drug trafficking. Mexico has said that there is a shared responsibility with the United States in the battle to combat drug gangs as, for instance, the U.S. supplies 90 per cent of the weapons used by drug traffickers.

Mexico supports electoral assistance missions

In 2010, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) joins forces with Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute and Electoral Tribunal to support technical assistance missions for electoral officers in Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti. Since 2009, Mexico has been chosen to be a regional excellence centre for electoral assistance in the hemisphere within the UNDP Global Programme for Electoral Cycle Support. The objectives of the program are to enhance credibility, transparency, effectiveness and sustainability of electoral institutions and processes, with emphasis on capacity development, South-South co-operation and empowerment of women. With a budget of nearly US$50 million, this three-year initiative (2009-2012) sets to improve countries’ electoral laws, processes and institutions and enhance participation of women in the process. The program is financed by the Government of Spain with support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and will operate globally.

EDC boosts business loans

Export Development Canada (EDC) business loans between Canadian and Mexican companies are set up to jump 20 per cent this year, said Business Development Group Senior Vice President Benoit Daignault. Last year, despite the global economic recession, EDC granted loans total ling C$1.1 billion to Canadian firms and Mexican importers. In 2008 it granted C$1.7 billion in loans dedicated to projects between the two countries. EDC’s mandate is to support firms to export their products to other markets. To do that, through its offices abroad it develops ties with local and Canadian firms engaging in international trade. As such, EDC has played an important role linking Canadian small and medium enterprises with the main state-run companies, including Mexican Petroleum (PEMEX) and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). EDC also offers services to Mexican firms interested in investing in an exporting Canadian company. Examples of that are Mexican manufacturing firms Mabe and Nemak that are present in Canada. To have access to EDC resources, Mexican firms have to have a business relationship with a Canadian firm. EDC can also help identify potential opportunities for two companies to increase their market.

Alberta signs declaration with Veracruz

The Canadian province of Alberta signed a declaration at the end of March with the Mexican state of Veracruz in order to strengthen and advance trade and investment. Alberta’s International and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Iris Evans visited Mexico on March 19 to 28 to sign the Declaration on Economic Co-operation, which inked the deal with the Government of Veracruz to promote commerce, encourage linkages between educational institutions and share best practices in terms of energy development. Evans said that working together with Mexico will enhance global competitiveness in their respective energy sectors, train a new generation of students and grow the trading and investment relationship. Alberta has previously helped secure two major contracts with Mexico: one with TransCanada to build a pipeline and another with Hyduke.

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