WASHINGTON, DC – On December 7, 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper of Canada met at the White House and announced two initiatives to ensure that the vital economic partnership that joins the United States and Canada continues to be the cornerstone of our economic competitiveness and security -- the Beyond the Border (BTB) Action Plan and the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Action Plan. These Action Plans build on our well-established bilateral cooperation on trade, investment, emergency preparedness, and security. They also describe specific initiatives with timelines for implementation that promote transparency, efficiency, and the free and secure flow of people and goods.
Today, we are jointly releasing two reports that summarize the significant progress made under these initiatives. While our efforts are not complete, our two governments have worked together over the past year in a concerted way to advance our perimeter security and economic competitiveness, achieving results that will translate into a significant savings that will improve the lives of residents, visitors, and businesses in both our countries.
The Beyond the Border Report highlights a number of the objectives achieved over the past year, which both provide economic benefits and enhance security, including:
Mutual recognition of our respective air cargo security programs for passenger aircraft, eliminating the need for re-screening, increasing the number of flights that can travel and allowing airports to shorten the time between flights;
An operational model for a pilot program to inspect truck cargo well before the border, reducing wait times at the border, and resulting in increased throughput of goods each day; and;
Providing additional benefits to trusted travelers, including expedited passenger screening at U.S. airports for Canadian travelers, making it easier to travel to more than one U.S. destination, increasing the number of tourism dollars spent here.
The Regulatory Cooperation Council, in fulfilling its mandate to promote economic growth and job creation, has spurred unprecedented cooperation to provide benefits to our consumers, regulators, and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination while maintaining high standards of public health and safety and environmental protection. The Council has achieved significant progress over the past year, including:
- Pilot projects for simultaneous submissions to regulators in both countries for approval of crop protection products;
- In the area of veterinary drugs, simultaneous reviews by U.S. and Canadian regulators for several drug submissions;
- A pilot project for the joint inspection of non-U.S. and non-Canadian flagged vessels entering the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway, focusing on maritime security and pollution prevention, and monitoring living and working conditions for workers on these ships; and
- A proposal to align U.S. and Canadian rules on tire safety and occupant restraint systems in frontal impact collisions.
For more than forty years, the increasing integration of the economies of the United States and Canada has been key to our two countries’ prosperity and security. We intend to continue to work together under these initiatives through 2013, 2014, and beyond to reduce and eliminate barriers to trade and investment, securing our shared competitiveness for the 21st century.