Canada-U.S. Border Action Plan will reduce costs, boost trade and create jobs, CEOs say

The Joint Action Plan announced today by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama contains an impressive range of practical, targeted measures that will speed up legitimate trade and travel across the Canada-U.S. border, create jobs and strengthen economic growth, according to the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE).

“For companies, workers, and travellers, this plan represents solid progress toward a smarter, more efficient Canada-U.S. border,” said The Honourable John Manley, President and Chief Executive Officer of the CCCE. “It will break down barriers to trade, reduce costs and improve the flow of goods and people between our two countries.”

The CCCE is the senior voice of Canada’s business community, representing 150 chief executives and leading entrepreneurs from all major sectors and regions of the country.

“The Canada-U.S. partnership is crucial to both countries,” Mr. Manley said. “By improving border management and aligning regulatory standards for a range of products and sectors, the Action Plan will significantly improve the economic environment in Canada and the United States, promote job creation and encourage new business investment.”

Of equal importance, Mr. Manley said, the Action Plan creates a framework for further progress in years ahead, both in terms of border management and enhanced regulatory efficiency. “Today’s announcement represents a significant and much-needed step forward in Canada-U.S. cooperation, building on the success of the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

Key benefits in the Joint Action Plan include:

  • Eliminating overlapping cargo inspections for trains travelling from Canada to the United States, embracing the principle of “screened once, accepted twice”;
  • Doing away with baggage re-screenings for Canadian travellers who change planes in the United States;
  • Investing in new infrastructure at key Canada-U.S. border crossings to improve security, eliminate unnecessary inspections and reduce waiting times;
  • Developing a common approach to screening inbound cargo from offshore, and moving toward a full pre-clearance agreement covering rail, marine and truck cargo;
  • Implementing new policies to expedite temporary entry into both countries for business visitors who provide after-sales service;
  • Expanding the existing NEXUS program for trusted travellers, making it faster and easier for them to travel across the Canada-U.S. border, as well as by air from one Canadian destination to another and, eventually, from one U.S. destination to another;
  • Streamlining customs requirements for importers by implementing a “single window” through which they can electronically submit all necessary information;
  • Embracing a new approach to regulatory cooperation, beginning with the development of common approaches to food safety, motor vehicle safety standards, recreational boat manufacturing standards, marine and rail safety and common monographs for over-the-counter drugs.

Founded in 1976, the CCCE is a non-partisan organization that engages in public policy research, consultation and advocacy. Its members lead companies that collectively administer $4.5 trillion in assets, employ more than 1.4 million men and women and are responsible for most of Canada’s private-sector exports, investment and training.