“Beyond the Border” Deal Signed

Stephen Harper was in Washington today to make a joint announcement with his close personal friend Barack Obama about signing of the widespread Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan, described by the Prime Minister as “the most significant step forward in Canada-U.S. co-operation since the North American Free Trade Agreement.” (Obviously not the strongest selling point for those opposed to the concept of free trade, or NAFTA in particular.)

Of course, it remains to be seen what potentially nasty, unintended consequences may arise from particular aspects of this new deal as it unfolds in practice (devil being in the details and all that), but if it manages to eventually fulfil the initiative’s stated objectives of streamlining the flow of legitimate trade and travellers across the border, then any small sacrifices of national sovereignty that may be inevitably be involved could be beneficial in the long run.

Update: Bob Rae is predictably unimpressed by the new border deal, maintaining that it apparently does little to address many significant irritants that have plagued Canada-U.S. trade relations in recent years such as the protectionist “Buy American” provisions that have appeared in various pieces of U.S. legislation.

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2 Comments

Filed under Obama, STEVEN HARPER Government of Canada

2 responses to ““Beyond the Border” Deal Signed

  1. Tomm

    Ï thought the border conversation between Obama and Harper was relevant if a little bland.

    Rae’s comments just didn’t make any sense. Is he asking Harper to get tough with Obama? If so, he is just plain wrong. It’s a dance not an arm wrestle.

  2. Rae’s comments were, as I said, predictable. And understandable… This deal doesn’t address underlying problems in the trade relationship such as protectionist measures that tend to arise in Congress or get promulgated by the Obama administration itself. Fast-tracking the measures at the border to eliminate much of the duplication of risk-screening effort and would be beneficial to manufacturers, but the sad reality is that customs agencies on both sides of the border just aren’t up to the task at present. Until such time as there’s a significant commitment to invest in effectively harmonizing the IT infrastructure of both the CBSA and CBP with respect to integrating cross-border transactions (a de facto customs union), then we’ll keep plodding along with the same dysfunctional arrangement.

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