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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid