Canada Considers Easing Visa Restrictions for Mexicans

Canada is likely to open up its skies to more flights from Mexico as part of a broader strategy aimed at making way for its entrepreneurs looking to …

Canada is likely to open up its skies to more flights from Mexico as part of a broader strategy aimed at making way for its entrepreneurs looking to explore business opportunities in Mexico’s lucrative oil industry.

An agreement to this end will be discussed in detail in the upcoming trilateral summit scheduled for February 19, according to the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. Analysts say such an agreement will also help boost tourism and trade between the countries.

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto will join US President Barack Obama at the summit designed to widen economic cooperation among the North American countries.

Such an agreement will lead Canada to put in place a new air travel measure allowing more Mexicans to visit Canada and strike up business relationship with Canadians.

Canada, in fact, is eyeing Mexico’s lucrative energy sector.  Mexico has extensive shale-gas deposits and a strong potential for deep-water oil production. The Canadian city of Calgary, according to the paper, might become an important hub for Mexican energy companies seeking outside expertise.

The Mexican president is scheduled to arrive in Calgary in June and the paper says hundreds of Canadian businesspersons, particularly from the country’s oil sector, will be waiting to meet him there.

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Since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, bilateral trade between Canada and Mexico has more than quadrupled, reaching almost $30 billion in 2012. Mexico is Canada’s fifth-largest export market, according to EDC, Canada’s export credit agency.

In 2009, Canada enforced a new immigration law requiring Mexicans to seek a visa to travel to Canada.  The law was criticized severely. Canada, according to the paper, is now considering easing visa restrictions.

It is also mulling the idea of approving visas to Mexicans who already carry a visa to travel in the United States. Also on the agenda is a plan to simplify visa application forms and expedite visa renewals for Mexicans.

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