Bush Administration Fast-Tracks Formation of North American Union

By Jerome R. Corsi, Human Events Online, July 11, 2006


With virtually no mention in the mainstream media, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez convened on June 15, the first meeting of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), an apparently extra-constitutional advisory group organized by the Department of Commerce (DOC) under the auspices of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

A March 31 press release on the White House website, under the title “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America: Progress,” announced the formation of the NACC. The press release noted that the NACC would meet annually “with security and prosperity Ministers and will engage with senior government officials on an ongoing basis.” The “SPP Ministers” were not identified. Moreover, the term “Ministers” was an unusual reference to the U.S. government, especially when the founding fathers had taken such pains to rid the U.S. of all terminology that could be reminiscent of monarchical systems such as the British royalty against whom the Revolutionary War was aimed. Evidently, the reference was to Gutierrez, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the three cabinet officers to whom the extensive SPP working groups organized in DOC are now reporting, as well as their cabinet level counterparts in Mexico and Canada.

The White House press release references no U.S. law or treaty under which the NACC was organized....

According to a notice on Trade.gov, a website maintained by the International Trade Administration of the DOC, the NACC membership consists of 10 “high-level business leaders” from Mexico, Canada, and the United States. An April 2006 report in the Mexican media quoted Angel Villalobos, undersecretary of International Trade Negotiations for Mexico’s Secretariat of Economy, as saying that nothing like NACC had ever before been created in NAFTA. Mr. Villalobos described NACC as “an umbrella organization within the SPP,” claiming further that SPP was created in 2005 to operate parallel to NAFTA....

The press release quotes Gutierrez as affirming the importance of NACC within SPP:

“Today is a continuation of President Bush’s strong commitment to our North American partners to focus on North America’s security and prosperity. The private sector is the driving force behind innovation and growth, and the private sector’s involvement in the SPP is key to enhancing North America’s competitive position in global markets.”

The Council of the Americas provided the more detail regarding the June 15, 2006 meeting of the NACC than was found on U.S. government websites. A NACC membership list found on the Council of the Americas’ website lists the U.S. members as coming form the following corporations (listed in alphabetic order): Campbell Soup Company, Chevron, Ford, FedEx, General Electric, General Motors, Kansas City Southern Industries, Lockheed Martin Corporation; Merck; Mittal Steel USA; New York Life; United Parcel Service; Wal-Mart; and Whirlpool.

A separate document on the Council of the Americas website presents a summarized transcript which claims that U.S. representatives in the June 15 meeting explained the composition of the U.S. delegation as follows:

“The U.S. section of the NACC has organized itself through a Secretariat -- composed of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Council of the Americas -- to maximize its efficiency and better communicate with its members.” Secretary Gutierrez was also paraphrased as stating, “The purpose of this meeting was to institutionalize the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and the NACC, so that the work will continue through changes in administrations.”

The Council of the Americas is a private organization with offices in New York and Washington, D.C. According to the organization’s own description, the group’s members “include some of the largest blue chip corporations domiciled in the United States, who, collectively, represent the vast bulk of U.S. investment in and trade with the rest of the Americas.”...

The Council of the Americas website lists five top priorities identified for the U.S. Section of the American Business: Energy Integration; Supply Chain Management/Trade Facilitation/ Customs Reform; Regulatory/ Standards issues -- Harmonization and Sharing of Best Practices; Counterfeiting and Piracy -- “Fake Free North America”; and Private Sector Involvement in Border Security and Infrastructure Projects....

A White House website shows photographs of President Bush, Mexico President Vicente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at their March 31 joint news conference in Cancun, Mexico, shaking hands in front of a backdrop proclaiming “Cancun 2006. Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.”...

In his comments at the Cancun press conference, President Bush also affirmed the presence of unnamed business leaders who had attended the trilateral summit meeting. President Bush commented, “I want to thank the CEOs and the business leaders from the three countries who are here.”

The DOC's SPP website announcing the formation of NACC provides no information as to the membership requirements, the selection process, or the terms of the members appointed to the NACC. Nor is there any discussion of who pays for the travel expenses and the time of the participants. We find no charter published for the NACC, or any other specific delineation of roles and responsibilities, or reporting authority (except for a mention of the “SPP Ministers”). Equally lacking is a description of the enabling legislation or treaty under which the NACC operates....

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