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Canada and U.S. agree on joint action plans to boost security, trade and travel

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama announced today that Canada and the United States have agreed to implement two action plans designed to speed up legitimate trade and travel, improve security in North America, and align regulatory approaches between the two countries.

“Billions of dollars worth of goods and hundreds of thousands of people cross our shared border every day,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Moving security to the perimeter of our continent will transform our border and create jobs and growth in Canada by improving the flow of goods and people between our two countries.”

The Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competiveness focuses on four areas of cooperation: addressing threats early; facilitating trade, economic growth and jobs; integrating cross-border law enforcement; and improving critical infrastructure and cyber-security.

“We are pursuing an ambitious global trade agenda, while at the same time ensuring enhanced access to the United States, our largest and most important trading partner,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Together, these agreements represent the most significant step forward in Canada-U.S. cooperation since the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

The Action Plan on Regulatory Cooperation will help reduce barriers to trade, lower costs for consumers and business, and create economic opportunities on both sides of the border. It identifies 29 initiatives where Canada and the U.S. will align their regulatory approaches in the areas of agriculture and food, transportation, health and personal care products, chemical management, the environment, and other cross-sectoral areas, while not compromising our health, safety or environmental protection standards.

“This Action Plan on Regulatory Cooperation will break down regulatory barriers and will make it easier for our firms and manufacturers to do business on both sides of the border,” added the Prime Minister.

The two action plans respect the sovereignty of both countries and specify they will work together to promote the principles of human rights, privacy and civil liberty essential to the rule of law and the effective management of our perimeter.

As the action plans are implemented, the Government will consult with Parliament and Canadians and keep them informed of progress.

Detailed backgrounders on each area of cooperation and what the initiatives will mean are available at www.borderactionplan.gc.ca.

Backgrounder

UNITED STATES-CANADA REGULATORY COOPERATION COUNCIL (RCC)


WHAT THE JOINT ACTION PLAN MEANS – CROSS-SECTORAL INITIATIVES


Closer coordination on the following cross-sectoral regulatory issues will complement the sectoral issues considered in this initial Joint Action Plan.

Small Business Lens

Complex and overlapping regulatory requirements place unnecessary burden on businesses, reducing their competitiveness and forcing owners to spend time and money that could be better spent on innovation and strengthening the economy.

In addition, regulatory requirements in general often place a disproportionate burden on small businesses. In 2011, Canada and the U.S. made independent commitments to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses in their respective jurisdictions by taking better consideration of small business realities when designing new regulations.


The Joint Action Plan includes a cross-sectoral initiative that builds on both Canada’s and the U.S.’s respective work in reducing the regulatory burden on small businesses. This Joint Action Plan proposes to:

· Share approaches and tools being developed by Canada and the U.S. to assess and account for the needs of small businesses when developing regulations.

Early information sharing will provide an opportunity to enhance regulators’ sensitivity to small businesses, particularly those engaged in cross-border trade. Canada-U.S. collaboration is anticipated to result in increased, risk-appropriate, regulatory flexibility for small businesses, which will better enable them to comply with regulatory requirements.

Building on the work of the Red Tape Reduction Commission, which is working closely with Canadian industry to reduce the burden of regulation on businesses that operate in Canada, the Government of Canada is creating a better economic environment so that small businesses can continue to grow and create jobs.

Nanomaterials

Nanomaterials are extremely small amounts of matter, typically from 1 to 100 nanometres (nm) in size – by comparison, a human hair is about 100,000 nm in diameter. Nanomaterials can be used to create new and innovative materials, devices and systems. Ensuring that Canada and the U.S. apply similar regulatory approaches to nanomaterials will be critical in reducing risks to environmental and human health while fostering innovation. Existing domestic statutes have provided a firm foundation for the regulation and oversight of nanomaterials, which are used in a broad range of applications, from consumer goods (e.g., tennis balls and paint) to medical purposes (e.g., disease detection and enhanced surgical procedures). Aligned regulatory approaches will ensure consistency for consumers and industry within and between both countries. The Joint Action Plan proposes to:

· Share information and develop joint Canada-U.S. approaches on regulatory aspects of nanomaterials.

This will include developing consistent approaches to the risk assessment and management of nanomaterials, as well as sharing scientific and regulatory expertise.

More details on these and other Regulatory Cooperation Council Joint Action Plan measures are available at www.borderactionplan.gc.ca.







Service de presse du CPM    12/7/2011


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