President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed two far-reaching agreements on Wednesday designed to make it easier and safer to move goods across the border.
The countries agreed by December 2012 to implement joint cargo inspection and clearance of goods that arrive by land, rail and sea. Food safety and agricultural regulators of both countries will work on similar joint efforts.
"Moving security to the perimeter of our continent will transform our border and create jobs and growth in Canada by improving the flow of goods and people between our two countries,” Harper said.
The security-focused plan calls for harmonization of the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and Canada’s Partners in Protection program by December 2013. Both programs call for voluntary participation by importers to secure their supply chains, but PIP includes import-compliance provisions that are not part of C-TPAT.
The agreements come amid heightened tensions between the two countries over a U.S. inquiry into the diversion of American imports into Canadian ports. Canada is the U.S.'s largest trading partner, accounting for $525 billion worth of trade in 2010.
Text of the plans is available here.