United States Government Agencies' Relations With Canada and Mexico

Gao ID: ID-79-57 September 27, 1979

A questionnaire was sent to 71 Federal agencies having contact with Canada or Mexico in order to determine how U.S. Government agencies are organized to deal with these two countries. Frequent contact with the governments of both countries was reported by 31 agencies.

Responses to the questionnaire showed that approximately three-fourths of the respondents coordinate their activities with the Department of State, while others coordinate their activities primarily with the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce. None of the respondents, including the Department of State, advocated structural changes in any U.S. agencies that deal with either Canada or Mexico. Several bilateral organizations have been created to promote closer cooperation between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The United States has occasionally established special bilateral mechanisms with Canada and Mexico to examine problems and propose solutions regarding common policy interests. The U.S. Government and the Mexican Government formed the United States-Mexican Consultative Mechanism, consisting of nine joint commissions, through which high-level representatives could maintain close, regular contact. The commissions address problems in the areas of border cooperation, trade, finance, tourism, industry and development, migration, energy, law enforcement, and multilateral consultations. Other bilateral groups under the Consultative Mechanism exist in the fields of science and technology, cultural cooperation, water and boundaries, agricultural cooperation, and parks and wildlife. The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, directed by the Department of Transportation, coordinates its activities with its Canadian counterpart, and was established in order to fully develop the seaway between Montreal and Lake Erie.

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