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Stephen Harper Won't Drop Visa Rule For Mexicans, Source Says

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not expected to lift visa requirements on Mexican travellers during his upcoming trip to the country, a senior government source told CBC News.

The visa rules, imposed in 2009 to curb bogus asylum claims, are considered a major irritant by the Mexican government.

"The restrictions have helped reduce bogus claims by approximately 85 per cent and there is no intention of lifting the visa requirements on this trip," the senior government source said.

Francisco Suarez, the Mexican ambassador to Canada, said in an interview last year that his country is "really mad" at the Harper government for the continued imposition of the visa.

A new report from the Canadian Council for Chief Executives also calls the visa requirements an impediment to the Canada-Mexico relationship.

The report, released on Tuesday, finds that spending by Mexican tourists in Canada has fallen to $200 million in 2012 from $365 million in 2008.

After a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Nieto in 2012, Harper said he would like to see an end to the visa and "ultimately … visa-free travel with Mexico."

Nieto will host Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama for a continental summit in Toluca on Feb. 19. Dubbed as the Three Amigos Summit, it will be the first meeting of the trio since a brief gathering almost two years ago.

The focus of the trip will be on strengthening trade, energy and security relationship with Canada's North American counterparts, Harper's spokesperson said earlier.

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