the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Supporting U.S. Economic Growth through North American Regulatory Cooperation

Cass Sunstein announces the launch of the United States-Mexico High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council (HLRCC) Work Plan.

As part of the President’s ambitious regulatory reform initiative, the Administration is working to reduce unjustified regulatory barriers to exports and to strengthen international regulatory cooperation – a critical tool for promoting job creation and economic growth here at home. By collaborating with key trading partners to promote free and open trade and investment, we can further reduce unnecessary burdens on U.S. businesses, as a recent report from the President’s Jobs Council emphasizes. Regulatory cooperation is an important mechanism for reducing regulatory roadblocks to U.S. exports. To this end, we are pleased to announce the launch of the United States-Mexico High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council (HLRCC) Work Plan.   

Bilateral commerce between the United States and Mexico reaches more than $1 billion daily. This Work Plan identifies a number of areas of mutual interest – food, transportation, nanotechnology, e-health, oil and gas, and conformity assessment – and outlines activities to be carried out by the United States and Mexico over a period of two years. Among other things, the Work Plan will seek to:

  • Develop common approaches to food safety in ways that will benefit consumers and the food industry on both sides of the border;
  • Reduce burdens on U.S. and Mexican businesses, while maintaining the safety and reliability of products, by bringing the two countries together to develop compatible electronic certification programs for plants and plant products;
  • Improve the safety of our citizens by ensuring that all trucks in each country are inspected to a consistently high standard, regardless of the vehicle’s country of origin;
  • Foster innovation while reducing risks to environmental and human health by ensuring that the United States and Mexico share information about each nation’s respective regulatory approaches to nanomaterials at an early stage;
  • Decrease costs and reduce the time required to implement electronic health record systems in each country, by increasing cooperation and sharing best practices on Electronic Health Record certification; and 
  • Minimize risks in oil and gas exploration, production activities, and drilling, by developing a common approach to managing contingencies in the Gulf of Mexico that will ensure coordinated actions between the two countries.  

This U.S.-Mexico Work Plan follows the December 7, 2011 announcement by President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper, launching the United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Action Plan. The objectives of both initiatives are to promote economic growth and job creation; lower costs for consumers, businesses, producers, and governments; increase trade in goods and services across our borders; and improve our ability to protect the environment, health, and safety of our citizens.  

Consistent with the Administration’s commitment to open government, stakeholder engagement and consultation played an important role in the development of both the U.S.-Canada and the U.S.-Mexico Plans, and it will continue to play an important role in implementation of the Plans moving forward. We invite you to share your views and provide suggestions on our efforts to promote international regulatory cooperation by emailing us at

You can learn more about all regulatory actions under review, including those with international trade and investment implications, at

Cass Sunstein is the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs