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In 1993, Canada, Mexico and the United States signed the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC)as a side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAAEC established the Commission for EnvironmentalCooperation (CEC) to help the Parties ensure that improved economic efficiency occurred simultaneously withtrinational environmental cooperation.
The NAAEC highlighted biodiversity as a key area for trinational cooperation. In 2001,the CEC adopted a resolution (Council Resolution 01-03), which created the Biodiversity Conservation Working Group (BCWG),a working group of high-level policy makers from Canada, Mexico and the United States. In 2003, the BCWG producedthe "Strategic Plan for North American Cooperation in the Conservation of Biodiversity."
This strategy identified responding tothreats, such as invasive species, as a priority action area. In 2004, the BCWG, recognizing the importance of prevention in addressinginvasive species, agreed to work together to develop the draft CEC Risk Assessment Guidelines for Aquatic Alien InvasiveSpecies (hereafter referred to as the Guidelines). These Guidelines will serve as a tool to North American resource managerswho are evaluating whether or not to introduce a non-native species into a new ecosystem.
Through this collaborativeprocess, the BCWG has begun to implement its strategy as well as address an important trade and environment issue. With increasedtrade comes an increase in the potential for economic growth as well as biological invasion, by working to minimize the potential adverseimpacts from trade, the CEC Parties are working to maximize the gains from trade while minimizing the environmental costs.