Today I attended the signing of the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport Preclearance Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney. It was a pleasure to be part of this historic event, and particularly exciting for me to see the culmination of so much hard work to develop an agreement that will enhance our security but also speed up cross-border land, air, maritime, and rail travel and will continue to enhance North American competitiveness. Bilateral trade now exceeds $700 billion a year and over 300,000 people cross the border each day, supporting millions of jobs in both countries. This agreement provides us the opportunity to continue to expand our efforts to quickly and safely process legal trade and travel in North America.
This agreement fulfills one of the most ambitious commitments made in the February 4, 2011 Beyond the Border Action Plan by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper. It is a major milestone in our work to advance our shared vision of addressing threats at the earliest point possible while facilitating the legitimate movement of people, goods and services across our shared border. While legislation must be passed in the U.S. and Canada before this agreement is implemented, it establishes a framework to expand operations in both countries that will both enhance trade and security.
In the 2011 Beyond the Border Declaration, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper said the following:
The United States and Canada are staunch allies, vital economic partners, and steadfast friends. We share common values, deep links among our citizens, and deeply rooted ties. The extensive mobility of people, goods, capital, and information between our two countries has helped ensure that our societies remain open, democratic, and prosperous.
To preserve and extend the benefits our close relationship has helped bring to Americans and Canadians alike, we intend to pursue a perimeter approach to security, working together within, at, and away from the borders of our two countries to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between our two countries. We intend to do so in partnership, and in ways that support economic competitiveness, job creation, and prosperity.
Today’s signing is a major step forward in fulfilling this commitment, and shows that we have continued to work in close partnership to make our citizens safer and our economies more competitive.