Perry makes case for team­ing with Canada, Mex­ico

Houston Chronicle - - BUSINESS - By Collin Eaton

En­ergy Sec­re­tary Rick Perry said Tues­day that U.S. of­fi­cials and their coun­ter­parts in Canada and Mex­ico must col­lab­o­rate to speed the de­vel­op­ment of the con­ti­nent’s vast en­ergy re­sources and re­move reg­u­la­tory road­blocks to cross­bor­der en­ergy in­fra­struc­ture projects.

The for­mer Texas gov­er­nor also urged mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the

three coun­tries on en­hanc­ing the phys­i­cal safety and cy­ber­se­cu­rity of the en­ergy sys­tems that stretch across the na­tion’s bor­ders.

“Canada and Mex­ico are the largest en­ergy trad­ing part­ners of the

United States,” Perry said, speak­ing along­side Canada’s min­is­ter of nat­u­ral re­sources, Jim Carr, and Mex­ico’s en­ergy sec­re­tary, P. Joaquin Cold­well, at a news con­fer­ence at the Univer­sity of Hous­ton. “And the en­ergy se­cu­rity of our three coun­tries is achiev­able be­cause of mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion.”

Carr echoed Perry’s com­ments, say­ing greater co­op­er­a­tion that ben­e­fits the three na­tions should come ahead of par­ti­san pol­i­tics, re­fer­ring to the ide­o­log­i­cal gulf be­tween the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau.

But the talk of in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion comes against the back­drop of the rene­go­ti­a­tion of the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment, a thorny process that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion be­gan this sum­mer. When asked whether rene­go­ti­at­ing NAFTA would af­fect en­ergy trade be­tween the three coun­tries, Perry said the rene­go­ti­a­tion was a “good process; it’s a healthy process.”

“Fif­teen years ago, they told us we found all the oil and gas there was to find and that the days of be­ing able to de­velop oil and gas were over with,” Perry said. “Well, that’s not the case. So does it make sense to sit down with our col­leagues in Canada and Mex­ico to rene­go­ti­ate a new North Amer­ica Free Trade Agree­ment? Yes, I think it does.”

Perry called spec­u­la­tion that the United States, Canada and Mex­ico would not be able to agree on terms for a new cross-bor­der trade deal “far-fetched.”

“Our friends in Mex­ico and Canada are pretty good ne­go­tia­tors,” he said. “We not only will have a good agree­ment, it’ll be a fair agree­ment, and the pri­vate sec­tor can know there will be con­tract in hand so when they come to in­vest in Mex­ico or Canada or the United States, there will be a good frame­work in place in which they can do busi­ness.”

Marie D. De Jesús / Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Jim Carr of Canada, left, U.S. Depart­ment of En­ergy Sec­re­tary Rick Perry and Sec­re­tary of En­ergy P. Joaquin Cold­well of Mex­ico an­swer ques­tions Tues­day in Hous­ton.

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