One year ago, I had
the privilege of going to the White House when President Barack
Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed our two countries
to historically unprecedented cooperation between our two nations.
The Beyond the Border Action Plan committed us to replacing the
false choice of trade or security with a new approach to border
management. An approach that says we can enhance security for both
countries while expediting and increasing lawful trade and travel.
The Regulatory Cooperation Council Action Plan identified areas of
economic cooperation where we could pursue increased regulatory
cooperation, increase efficiency, lower costs, and promote growth
On December 14, 2012 the United States and Canada jointly released
annual reports to the leaders on these two initiatives. Those
reports show that we have made dramatic progress. We've put meat on
the bones of our leaders' commitments. We said we would get things
done. We did.
I urge you to read the reports, available at these links:
Beyond The Border
Implementation Report (157KB PDF)
Regulatory Cooperation Council Progress Report (181KB PDF)
They detail over a hundred achievements that have improved
efficiency and enhanced security; shortened lines and reduced time
and costs involved in getting people and goods across the border;
and begun to eliminate the tyranny of small differences in our
regulatory processes that increase costs to producers and consumers.
And that's just the beginning. This is just the first year. BTB and
RCC will continue over several years, and we will continue the same
level of commitment in those coming years. It will take time and
thought and hard work. No single achievement will resolve all the
challenges we face. The combined weight of all of them together will
improve trade efficiency and security at the border, and reduce the
costs of doing business.
I could not be more pleased about our progress, and commend the many
American and Canadian experts whose hard work has moved us so far
along the road. I thank our friends in the business community who
have supported this process with their ideas, and the many members
of the general public who have given their commentary and
participated in stakeholder meetings.
As I said at the start of this process a year ago, I hope that they
and you will continue to hold our feet to the fire to get this done.
The benefits to Americans and Canadians that have flowed, and that
will continue to flow, from this process are too important to both
We'll be back to do more in the new year, and until then I wish all
of you very Happy Holidays.