Mexico wants its North American neighbours to move more quickly towards integration on a continental scale, the country's foreign secretary said on Friday.

Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Jorge Castaneda was in Ottawa on Friday, meeting for the first time with Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham.

"We would like to continentalize as much as possible," he said.

Castaneda said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 brought to the fore the idea of harmonizing several policy areas across the continent.

What Mexico wants, he said, goes beyond the continental perimeter idea that has been discussed at length in Canada in the wake of Sept. 11. Castaneda said it includes a more continental approach to social issues, immigration and energy.

"We have been pushing for this. And we have been encountering a receptive ear both in Canada and the United States at a certain level of intensity," he said. "We would like to move more quickly. We would like to move more deeply."

Mexican President Vicente Fox has spoken in the past about those deeper moves, such as adopting a common currency, a customs union, and the entire elimination of border controls.