The U.S. and Canada agreed Friday to work more closely together to better focus infrastructure investment needed to speed cross-border trade.
President Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed a pact Feb. 4 calling for greater U.S.-Canada cooperation in trade and security.
"We will focus investment in modern infrastructure and technology at our busiest land ports of entry," the leaders said in their declaration.
The agreement calls for increased integration and cooperation in all areas of security and law enforcement, building on existing bilateral programs. The declaration spelled out general principles, leaving details to be worked out in the coming months by the U.S. and Canadian governments.
U.S. trade with Canada is increasing, rising 12.6 percent in November to $39.5 billion. That's raising fear of congestion at border crossing points.
The nations agreed to share border facilities and infrastructure "where appropriate," which may raise concerns about sovereignty.
The North American trading partners will also develop an integrated cargo security strategy and compatible cargo screening methods, they said. That will help speed the subsequent clearance and movement of imported goods, either by rail or truck, across the U.S.-Canada border.
The declaration also calls for common practices and streamlined customs processing procedures and regulations, "where practicable."
"We intend to pursue creative and effective solutions to manage the flow of traffic between Canada and the United States," the declaration said.
The nations will organize bi-national port of entry committees to coordinate planning and funding for border infrastructure and facilities.
"We intend to look for opportunities to integrate our efforts and where practicable … within and beyond Canada and the United States."
A U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council will work to streamline and simplify regulations and make them more compatible in both countries.
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