News / USA

US, Canada Announce New Joint Border Effort

President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper take part in a joint news conference after their meeting at the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011
President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper take part in a joint news conference after their meeting at the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have announced a new joint effort to streamline cross-border trade they say will help both economies and enhance security.  

The new initiative is aimed at strengthening security along the border, increasing coordination and sharing of intelligence, and harmonizing regulations on the flow of food and manufactured goods.

Referred to as the North American security "perimeter," it involves use of advanced biometric technology to track travelers, and steps to eliminate burdensome regulatory barriers that Obama said can stifle trade and job creation.

Saying the goal is smarter border management, Obama said it's aimed at creating jobs and increasing economic growth on both sides of a border that sees more than $1 billion worth of trade crossing it each day.

"Working more closely to improve border security with better screening, new technologies and information sharing among law enforcement, as well as identifying threats early. It also means finding new ways to improve the free flow of goods and people," Obama said.

Joint border efforts have been controversial in Canada where Harper's government has faced criticism from the political opposition that Canadian sovereignty and privacy would be sacrificed.

The U.S. - Canada declaration includes a goal of an integrated entry-exit system, and enhanced cooperation to identify, prevent and counter violent extremism. It also pledges to create "joint privacy protection principles" and efforts to "promote principles of human rights, privacy and civil liberties."

Saying Canada and the U.S. share fundamental interests and values, and common challenges and threats, Harper said it is in both countries' interest to ensure that the border remains open and efficient, but also secure.

Harper responded this way to a Canadian reporter asking about criticism of the agreement in Canada.

"We are sovereign countries who have the capacity to act as we choose to act. The question that faces us is to make sure we act in a sovereign way that serves Canada's interest. It is in Canada's interest to work with our partners in the United States to ensure that our borders are secure, and ensure that we can trade and travel across them as safely and as openly as possible within the context of our different laws and that is what we are trying to achieve here," he said.

The U.S. and Canada signed a free trade agreement in 1988 aimed at removing barriers to free trade.  Since then, Harper noted, both countries have become each other's largest export market, with eight million U.S. jobs supported by trade with Canada.

Meanwhile, the White House on Friday put a positive spin on the latest U.S. government report on unemployment, which had good news with the jobless figure falling to 9 percent in the month of January.   

But overall the economy created only 36,000 jobs, far fewer than needed for sustained reductions in unemployment, and less than a quarter of what is required to keep pace with population growth.

Gene Sperling, who heads the president's National Economic Council, said that private sector payrolls increased by 50,000 and he pointed to "strong progress" in job creation in the manufacturing sector, which he attributed to President Obama's policies. "We do see in the manufacturing area and the places the president will be traveling, some good news and I think with some significant relation to the policies the president has implemented and proposed," he said.

The White House announced that Obama will travel next week, to Marquette, Michigan, to underscore the importance of an initiative mentioned in his State of the Union Address, an effort to make broadband wireless available to 80 percent of Americans in coming years.

The administration also formally rolled out what it calls "A Strategy for American Innovation," tied to  Obama's goal of making the United States competitive with other countries and creating jobs.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid