Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
by Dana Gabriel, BeYourOwnLeader
December 14, 2011
After months of negotiations, the U.S. and Canada have unveiled new trade, regulatory and security initiatives to speed up the flow of goods and people across the border. The joint action plans provide a framework that goes beyond NAFTA and continues where the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) left off. This will take U.S.-Canada integration to the next level and is the pretext for a North American Homeland Security perimeter.
On December 7, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the Beyond the Border Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan. The new deal focuses on addressing security threats early, facilitating trade, economic growth and jobs, integrating cross-border law enforcement, as well as improving infrastructure and cyber-security. It will act as a roadmap with different parts being phased in over the next several years. This includes the creation of various pilot projects. Many aspects of the agreement will also depend on the availability of funding from both governments. In addition, the two leaders issued a separate Regulatory Cooperation Council Action Plan that sets out initiatives whereby the U.S. and Canada will seek greater regulatory alignment in the areas of agriculture and food, transportation, environment, health, along with consumer products.
At a Joint News Conference, President Obama declared that, “Canada is key to achieving my goal of doubling American exports and putting folks back to work. And the two important initiatives that we agreed to today will help us do just that.” He went on to say, “we’re agreeing to a series of concrete steps to bring our economies even closer and to improve the security of our citizens.” Obama also added, “we’re going to improve our infrastructure, we’re going to introduce new technologies, we’re going to improve cargo security and screening.” Prime Minister Harper proclaimed that, “These agreements create a new, modern order for a new century. Together, they represent the most significant steps forward in Canada-U.S. cooperation since the North American Free Trade Agreement.” He explained that, “The first agreement merges U.S. and Canadian security concerns with our mutual interest in keeping our border as open as possible to legitimate commerce and travel.” Harper described how, “The second joint initiative will reduce regulatory barriers to trade by streamlining and aligning standards.”