The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Declaration by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper of Canada - Beyond the Border
Beyond the Border:
A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness
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.
We have advanced our prosperity through the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Over $250 billion of direct investment by each country in the other, and bilateral trade of more than half-a-trillion dollars a year in goods and services create and sustain millions of jobs in both our countries. At the U.S.-Canada border, nearly one million dollars in goods and services cross every minute, as well as 300,000 people every day, who cross for business, pleasure, or to maintain family ties.
The United States and Canada share a long history of cooperation in defending our values and freedoms. We stand together to confront threats to our collective security as partners in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We work shoulder-to-shoulder in the defense of both our nations through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
We share responsibility for the safety, security, and resilience of the United States and of Canada in an increasingly integrated and globalized world. We intend to address security threats at the earliest point possible in a manner that respects privacy, civil liberties, and human rights.
We intend to work together in cooperation and partnership to develop, implement, manage, and monitor security initiatives, standards, and practices to fulfill our vision. We recognize that our efforts should accelerate job creation and economic growth through trade facilitation at our borders and contribute directly to the economic security and well-being of both the United States and Canada.
We intend to strengthen our resilience – our ability to mitigate, respond to, and recover from disruptions. Success depends on readiness at all levels of our governments, within our communities, and among private sector owners and operators of our infrastructure, systems, and networks. We rely on secure communications and transportation networks, including our civil aviation system, and we intend to work together to make them resilient enough to continue operating in the face of a natural disaster or attack.
We expect to use a risk management approach where compatible, interoperable, and – where possible – joint measures and technology should proportionately and effectively address the threats we share. Effective risk management should enable us to accelerate legitimate flows of people and goods into the United States and Canada and across our common border, while enhancing the physical security and economic competitiveness of our countries.
We build on the efforts of many partners – from police and other emergency workers to our armed forces – who continue to safeguard us from the complex threats we face.
We also recognize that cooperation across air, land, and maritime domains, as well as in space and cyberspace, our enduring bi-national defense relationship, and military support for civilian authorities engaged in disaster response efforts and critical infrastructure protection, have all contributed significantly to the security of our populations.
We recognize that greater sharing of information will strengthen our ability to achieve the goals of this vision.
We intend to work together to engage with all levels of government and with communities, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, as well as with our citizens, on innovative approaches to security and competitiveness.
We value and respect our separate constitutional and legal frameworks that protect privacy, civil liberties, and human rights and provide for appropriate recourse and redress.
We recognize the sovereign right of each country to act independently in its own interest and in accordance with its laws.
We expect to work together with third countries and with international organizations, and intend to facilitate security sector reform and capacity building around the globe, to enhance standards that contribute to our overall security.
Key Areas of Cooperation
Addressing Threats Early
Collaborating to address threats before they reach our shores, we expect to develop a common understanding of the threat environment through improved intelligence and information sharing, as well as joint threat assessments to support informed risk management decisions.
We intend to develop an integrated strategy that would enable us to meet the threats and hazards that both our nations face, including natural disasters and man-made threats, including terrorism.
We expect to continue strengthening our health security partnership, through existing mechanisms for cooperation on health emergencies, and by further enhancing our collective preparedness and response capacity to a range of health security threats, including influenza pandemics.
We intend to work together to uncover and disrupt threats that endanger the security of both the United States and Canada and to establish those agreements or policies necessary to ensure timely sharing of information for combined efforts to counter the threats. We intend to ensure we have the ability to support one another as we prepare for, withstand, and rapidly recover from disruptions. We intend to make the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada on Emergency Management Cooperation, updated in 2008, a cornerstone of these efforts.
To increase security, counter fraud, and improve efficiency, we intend to work together to establish and verify the identities of travelers and conduct screening at the earliest possible opportunity. We intend to work toward common technical standards for the collection, transmission, and matching of biometrics that enable the sharing of information on travelers in real time. This collaboration should facilitate combined United States and Canadian screening efforts and strengthen methods of threat notification.
In order to promote mobility between our two countries, we expect to work towards an integrated United States-Canada entry-exit system, including work towards the exchange of relevant entry information in the land environment so that documented entry into one country serves to verify exit from the other country.
We intend to cooperate to identify, prevent, and counter violent extremism in our two countries. By working cooperatively on research, sharing best practices, and emphasizing community-based and community-driven efforts, we will have a better understanding of this threat and an increased ability to address it effectively.
We intend to formulate jointly United States-Canada privacy protection principles that should inform and guide our work in relation to facilities, operations, programs, and other initiatives contemplated by this Declaration.
We intend to work together to promote the principles of human rights, privacy, and civil liberties as essential to the rule of law and effective management of our perimeter.
Trade Facilitation, Economic Growth, and Jobs
We intend to pursue creative and effective solutions to manage the flow of traffic between the United States and Canada. We will focus investment in modern infrastructure and technology at our busiest land ports of entry, which are essential to our economic well-being.
We will strive to ensure that our border crossings have the capacity to support the volume of commercial and passenger traffic inherent to economic growth and job creation on both sides of the border.
To enhance our risk management practices, we intend to continue planning together, organizing bi-national port of entry committees to coordinate planning and funding, building, expanding or modernizing shared border management facilities and border infrastructure where appropriate, and using information technology solutions.
We intend to look for opportunities to integrate our efforts and where practicable, to work together to develop joint facilities and programs – within and beyond the United States and Canada – to increase efficiency and effectiveness for both security and trade.
We aim to build on the success of current joint programs by expanding trusted traveler and trader programs, harmonizing existing programs, and automating processes at the land border to increase efficiency.
We will look for ways to reduce the cost of conducting legitimate business across the border by implementing, where practicable, common practices and streamlined procedures for customs processing and regulatory compliance.
We intend to work towards developing an integrated cargo security strategy that ensures compatible screening methods for goods and cargo before they depart foreign ports bound for the United States or Canada, so that once they enter the territory of either we can, together, accelerate subsequent crossings at land ports of entry between our two countries.
We recognize the importance of the U.S.-Canada Framework for the movement of Goods and People across the Border During and Following an Emergency, agreed to in 2009. It underscores the importance of coordinated, cooperative, and timely border management decision making to mitigate the impacts of disruptions on our citizens and economies.
Integrated Cross-border Law Enforcement
We intend to build on existing bilateral law enforcement programs to develop the next generation of integrated cross-border law enforcement operations that leverage cross-designated officers and resources to jointly identify, assess, and interdict persons and organizations involved in transnational crime.
We intend to seek further opportunities to pursue national security and transnational crime investigations together to maximize our ability to tackle the serious security threats that these organizations and individuals present.
We intend to improve the sharing among our law enforcement agencies of relevant information to better identify serious offenders and violent criminals on both sides of the border.
Critical Infrastructure and Cybersecurity
We intend to work together to prevent, respond to, and recover from physical and cyber disruptions of critical infrastructure and to implement a comprehensive cross-border approach to strengthen the resilience of our critical and cyber infrastructure with strong cross-border engagement.
The United States and Canada benefit from shared critical and cyber infrastructure. Our countries intend to strengthen cybersecurity to protect vital government and critical digital infrastructure of national importance, and to make cyberspace safer for all our citizens.
We intend to work together to defend and protect our use of air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace, and enhance the security of our integrated transportation and communications networks.
II. Implementation and Oversight
The United States and Canada intend to establish a Beyond the Border Working Group (BBWG) composed of representatives from the appropriate departments and offices of our respective federal governments.
Responsibility for ensuring inter-agency coordination will rest with the President and the Prime Minister and their respective officials.
We intend for the BBWG to report to their respective Leaders in the coming months, and after a period of consultation, with a joint Plan of Action to realize the goals of this declaration, that would, where appropriate, rely upon existing bilateral border-related groups, for implementation.
The BBWG will report on the implementation of this declaration to Leaders on an annual basis. The mandate of the BBWG will be reviewed after three years.