Canada is making human rights and democracy themes the country’s leading priorities at the Summit of the Americas negotiations despite the economic benefits it has experienced from expanding free trade, Lloyd Axworthy, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, said at the Carter Center last week.

“Everybody benefited from Nafta,” Mr. Axworthy said during a luncheon address, adding that Canada’s trade with Mexico had “quadrupled” since 1994 when Nafta was implemented and that trade with the U.S. now amounted to more than $1.5 billion a day.

“We need a balanced approach to trade,” he added. “The days of purist trade negotiations are over.  The consequences and payouts must be more widely shared. Trade negotiations are now set in a much broader context.”

He specifically referred to providing opportunities for smaller countries to benefit from easing barriers to textiles and linking democracy and environmental issues to trade agreements.

Quebec City is scheduled to host the Third Summit of the Americas April 20-22, 2001. The summits were launched in 1994 when democratically elected leaders of 34 hemispheric state met in Miami with the objective of preparing for the creation of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

Mr. Axworthy was in Atlanta May 31-June 1 to participate in the 20th anniversary celebrations of CNN and attend a benefit concert promoting the eradication of landmines.

For more information about his visit, call (404) 532-2032.