FACT SHEET: United States – Canada Relationship
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mrs. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau in Washington, D.C. on March 10 for an Official Visit and a State Dinner at the White House. The visit is a hallmark of the deep friendship and extraordinary cooperation between our two countries.
The United States and Canada have a profound and multifaceted partnership and alliance, strengthened by shared values and interests. Our bilateral cooperation reflects our common history, ideals, and mutual commitment to address the most challenging bilateral, multilateral and global issues.
Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Environment
The United States and Canada have a long history of collaboration to develop energy resources and protect the environment and are committed to taking ambitious action to combat climate change and develop new sources of clean energy. To highlight our partnership and advance new joint efforts, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau today issued a Joint Statement on Climate, Energy and Arctic Leadership with specific plans to reduce carbon emissions and develop clean sources of energy. The statement commits the two countries to significantly reduce methane emissions, adopt an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons, and reach agreement on a market-based mechanism to limit carbon emissions from international aviation.
The United States and Canada share deeply integrated economies and enjoy the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world. The almost 400,000 people and some $2 billion worth of goods and services that cross our border every day are a testament to the strength of our economic relationship. More than 1.3 million members participate in the NEXUS trusted traveler program, facilitating entry into each country for low‑risk, pre-screened travelers.
The United States and Canada share the goal of enhancing shared prosperity, creating jobs, protecting workers and the environment, and promoting sustainable economic development. Recognizing that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which links together countries that represent nearly 40 percent of global GDP, would advance these objectives, Canada and the United States are working to complete their respective domestic processes.
The President and Prime Minister highlighted the need to further facilitate trade between our two countries. President Obama welcomed Prime Minister Trudeau's interest in a new long-term agreement for softwood lumber. The Leaders agreed that the United States Trade Representative and the Canadian Minister of International Trade will intensively explore all options and report back within 100 days on the key features that would address this issue. The President noted recent legislative and regulatory action to repeal country of origin labeling requirements for beef and pork that bring the United States into compliance with its international trade obligations. Canada and the United States have a shared interest in a return to a fully integrated North American market for cattle and hogs that provides more opportunities and greater economic benefits for producers on both sides of the border.
The United States and Canada recognize the importance of regulatory cooperation to promote economic growth and benefits to our consumers and businesses. The U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council will: 1) generate and implement new regulatory cooperation initiatives; 2) engage business and consumer expert groups to identify where and how regulatory cooperation could provide benefits to improve the health and safety of our citizens; and 3) help agencies and departments to put in place ambitious commitments and work plans by early this summer.
Defense and National Security
The United States and Canada are indispensable allies in the defense of North America. The strength of this mutual commitment is illustrated by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the centerpiece of the U.S.-Canada military relationship. U.S. and Canadian forces jointly conduct aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning in defense of North America.
As members of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (C-ISIL), the United States and Canada are strongly committed to degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL. We are harnessing all elements of national power to achieve this goal: denying ISIL safe havens through our military operations and building the capacity of local partners; stopping the flow of foreign terrorist fighters; cutting off access to financing and funding; countering ISIL’s narrative; and supporting the stabilization of communities liberated from ISIL. We welcome Canada’s announcement on February 8 to enhance its C-ISIL cooperation to address the military, humanitarian, and development aspects of the conflict.
The United States and Canada worked with international partners to impose sanctions on Russia for its occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea and its aggression in eastern Ukraine and to incentivize a diplomatic solution to the crisis. U.S. and Canadian forces are training Ukraine’s forces to enable them to deter threats and effectively defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
The United States and Canada welcome the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit. The two countries will take additional steps to expand our robust nuclear security cooperation and strengthen global nuclear security. While the Conference on Disarmament is the most appropriate forum for negotiations for a treaty dealing with fissile material, the United States and Canada believe the venue is less important than the issue.
Cyber Cooperation and Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience
The United States and Canada share an interest in preserving an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet, given its importance to our collective prosperity, security, and commitment to democracy and human rights. The United States and Canada are partnering on a new initiative in the Americas to strengthen regional participation in the G7 24/7 Network, which connects national law enforcement in the battle against high-tech crime.
Border and Law Enforcement Cooperation
The United States and Canada work together to address threats at the border as well as throughout the two countries, while expediting lawful cross-border trade and travel. Both countries have taken important steps to ensure the security of our nations, prevent criminal and terrorist actors from exploiting legitimate trade and travel, and expand North American perimeter security. We have jointly developed protocols to exchange information on those who present a clear threat, including exchanging our respective “No-Fly” lists, with appropriate protections for the handling and dissemination of such information and processes to correct inaccurate information. Additionally, the Government of Canada has assured the United States it will complete the last phase of a coordinated entry and exit information system so the record of land and air entries into one country establishes an exit record from the other.
The United States conducts preclearance operations at eight airports in Canada, more than in any other country. Canada is the only country in the world with which the United States has signed a new Preclearance agreement that covers all modes of transportation across our shared border. We are pleased the Trudeau government has reinforced its support for the Agreement and committed to passing the legislation necessary to implement it. In addition, we have agreed in principle to expand preclearance to the following sites: Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport, Montréal Rail, and Rocky Mountaineer. Such expansion is contingent upon each site meeting all terms and conditions of the Agreement, including recovery of costs for the deployment of CBP officers at new preclearance locations in Canada.
Indigenous peoples have great political and cultural importance for the United States and Canada. The diverse indigenous communities in both nations have strong connections across the border. Supporting indigenous peoples’ social and economic aspirations is a priority for the United States and Canada. In the coming months, the countries will share information on self-governance policy to improve service delivery for First Nations. Canada has also agreed to provide to the United States government agencies insight into its consultation with indigenous communities on federal land.
The core values the United States and Canada share – democracy, justice, freedom – provide the basis for our cooperation in multilateral institutions. Our countries provide leadership that enables international institutions to respond to crises and support communities in need.
Canada and the United States are committed to strengthening U.N. peace operations by increasing the effectiveness of these operations and reforming and modernizing them to meet the challenges of today’s complex conflicts. Last year, President Obama hosted a Summit on Peacekeeping on the margins of the U.N General Assembly. We welcome Canada’s consideration of peacekeeping contributions in Africa consistent with the needs identified at the Summit.
The United States and Canada share a commitment to refugee protection and assistance. For years, the United States and Canada have been leading humanitarian donors and maintained two of the world’s largest refugee resettlement programs. The countries have announced and begun to implement significant expansions in their resettlement of Syrian refugees. We applaud Canada’s achievement in resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees in roughly four months and its plans to resettle thousands more this year. Building upon this record, both the United States and Canada will strive to make even more robust commitments in 2016, and urge other countries to do the same, as we look forward to the Refugee Summit President Obama will host at the UN General Assembly in September.
The U.S.-Canada partnership to improve the well-being of people around the world includes efforts to increase access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa. The United States and Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to support the development of the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa, including through Power Africa, an initiative announced by President Obama in 2013 to double access to power across this region. This partnership will enable the United States and Canada to accelerate efforts to harness Africa’s vast renewable energy potential and provide electricity to millions of people across the continent, and deepen coordination in the implementation of commitments under the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative including through U.S. investments under Power Africa as well as Canada’s pledge of $150 million under the Initiative. It will also expand Power Africa’s reach in francophone countries.
Collaboration to Empower Adolescent Girls
The United States and Canada commit to working together to support the empowerment of adolescent girls around the world who are held back from reaching their full potential. Reducing the barriers to education - such as lack of access, early pregnancy and HIV/AIDS, as well as abusive practices such as early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation/cutting – is critical to advancing the shared foreign policy, security and development priorities of the United States and Canada, including the 2030 Global Development Agenda. In the coming days, Secretary of State John Kerry will launch the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls to guide comprehensive efforts in this space.
Beginning with Tanzania and subsequently other countries where high numbers of girls are out of school, the United States and Canada will identify opportunities to leverage our respective education programs to strengthen the impact of Let Girls Learn, a U.S. initiative to help ensure that adolescent girls around the world attain a quality education that empowers them to reach their full potential. To that end, the United States and Canada will deepen our collaboration to address the barriers that keep adolescent girls from completing their education, including ending child, early and forced marriage and addressing the health concerns of adolescent girls. Through the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman Every Child—to which the U.S. has committed $50 million—the U.S. and Canada are working to address the health needs of women, children and adolescents in a number of key countries, including Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Kenya. Knowing that lack of access to education contributes to a girls’ vulnerability to HIV, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. is also targeting high prevalence geographic areas in 10 sub-Saharan African countries with DREAMS, a $385 million public/private partnership to reduce new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women in those areas.
Global Health Security Agenda and Zika Response
The United States and Canada are partnering to advance the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to infectious disease threats. In this regard, the United States will support 31 countries with its allocation of $1 billion for GHSA, and Canada will support 14 countries. Canada announced it will provide up to $20 million in 2016 to assist an additional 15 countries to fulfill commitments under the GHSA. The United States and Canada will collaborate with Jordan to support the implementation of each of the GHSA targets. The United States and Canada agreed to closely coordinate assistance, including by developing national plans with other countries to achieve GHSA targets, and by supporting external assessments to achieve specific, measurable outcomes. Both countries also agreed to continue to help West Africa in 2016 to mitigate the threat posed by Ebola and other infectious diseases.
The United States and Canada agree on the importance of addressing the Zika virus outbreak in the Western Hemisphere. Both countries committed to combat Zika and other vector-borne diseases via surveillance and laboratory capacity, sharing laboratory specimens, and developing medical countermeasures including diagnostics. Both countries also agreed to deploy scientists and public health experts to countries in the region to respond to vector-borne disease outbreaks. In addition, they committed to support international institutions operating in the region such as the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, non-governmental organizations, and academic and research institutions.
North American Leaders Summit
President Obama looks forward to meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the next North American Leaders Summit, to be held in Canada this summer. All three countries recognize the value of a more integrated North America to advance the security and prosperity of the continent.
The United States and Canada share a longstanding commitment to cooperation in the Western Hemisphere in support of democracy, rule of law, human rights, economic growth and opportunity, free trade, humanitarian assistance, and sustainable development. We work closely together in areas such as counternarcotics, conflict resolution, defense cooperation, and institutional reform. Our mutual support for the peace process and demining efforts in Colombia, democratic transition and rule of law in Haiti, and forthcoming efforts against Zika represent our strong commitment to our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere.