Obama, Harper Announce U.S.-Canadian Border Vision

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper met in Washington, DC this afternoon and issued a Declaration on a Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness as well as a Joint Statement on Regulatory Cooperation.

The leaders announced that they intend to pursue a perimeter approach to security to enhance security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods and services between Canada and the US.  They both stressed during their joint press conference that the cooperation would develop within the context of each country’s current laws, each country retains its sovereignty, and the border between them would not be eliminated.

The Declaration appears to be largely focused on the land border.  However, ACI-NA will touch base with the relevant authorities to see if there are any opportunities in the Shared Vision to improve the aviation environment.

The four areas of cooperation are:

  • Addressing Threats Early---improve intelligence and information sharing; develop an integrated strategy to meet natural disasters, man-made threats and public health issues; verify identities of travelers and conduct screening at the earliest possible opportunity; work toward common standards for collection, transmission and matching of biometrics; work toward an integrated Canada-US entry-exit system including in the land environment so that documented exit from one country can be used to verify enter into the other country; formulate joint privacy protection principles.
  • Trade Facilitation, Economic Growth and Jobs---focus investment in modern infrastructure and technology at the busiest land ports of entry; organize binational port of entry committees to coordinate efforts; worth to develop joint facilities and programs within and beyond Canada and the US; expand trusted traveler and trade programs, harmonize programs and automate processes at the land border; develop an integrated cargo strategy to ensure compatible screening methods for cargo before departing foreign ports so that once it enters the either country, Canada and the US will work together to accelerate land border crossings.
  • Integrated Cross Border Law Enforcement
  • Critical Infrastructure and Cybersecurity

Canada and the US will establish a Beyond the Border Working Group (BBWG) with representatives from the relevant departments to develop a joint Action Plan to achieve the Declaration’s goal.  The BBWG will report annually to the leaders on its work.

Canada’s Press Release

http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?category=1&featureId=6&pageId=26&id=3931

Declaration on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/02/04/declaration-president-obama-and-prime-minister-harper-canada-beyond-bord