Canada and U.S. Near Pact

December 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm

The U.S. and Canada are in the final stages of hammering out a broad pact on border security that could be unveiled within the next several weeks, say people familiar with the situation.

The pact aims to address both U.S. fears that Canadian border-security measures are too lax and Canadian complaints that tight U.S.-border controls are hindering trade, these people say.

The two sides are discussing coordinating how to screen people entering the U.S. or Canada, making sure they have compatible methods to examine cargo leaving foreign ports for the U.S. or Canada, and increasing information-sharing and intelligence cooperation, according to a draft agreement cited by Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

They also are discussing coordinating the planning, funding and modernizing of some ports and border facilities, the paper said.

The agreement outlines broad goals, and gives the two sides 120 days to come up with plans for implementation, the Globe and Mail reported.

The U.S. and Canada hope that bolstering cooperation on everything from traveler screening to cargo clearing will let both countries refocus scarce resources on dealings with nations outside their shared “perimeter,” and speed the movement of goods and people over their internal border.

Such a pact “has got the potential to be a much more significant step in how we exist on this continent,” said Gordon Giffin, who proposed similar ideas a decade ago when he was U.S. ambassador to Canada.

“We have a keen focus on ensuring that the Canada-U.S. border does not continue to thicken” as a result of added security measures, said Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, when asked about the reported negotiations. “If we can find reasonable ways to cooperate with the U.S. that maintain our sovereignty and respect our laws, we’re keen to do so.” Read More

Source: P. Dvorak, Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2010

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Entry filed under: Canada, NAFTA, North America.

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