News / USA

US, Canada Announce Trade, Security Deals

President Barack Obama (r) and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the White House complex Dec. 7, 2011.
President Barack Obama (r) and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the White House complex Dec. 7, 2011.
Kent Klein

The United States and Canada have announced deals to ease the flow of trade between them and improve security on their common border.  President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met Wednesday at the White House.

The U.S. and Canada have the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship, with more than $1.1 trillion in trade and investment crossing the border last year.

The two countries’ leaders have announced two agreements which President Obama said will further streamline cross-border trade and improve their common security.

“Put simply, we are going to make it easier to conduct the trade and travel that creates jobs, and we are going to make it harder for those who would do us harm and threaten our security," said President Obama.

Mr. Obama said more than 90 percent of U.S.-Canada trade passes through roads, bridges and ports, many of which he says need updating.

The president said one of the deals will provide those upgrades.

“We are going to improve our infrastructure," said Obama. "We are going to introduce new technologies.  We are going to improve cargo security and screening-all designed to make it easier for our companies to do business and create jobs.”

The agreement would also boost security along the U.S.-Canadian border, through increased coordination and the sharing of intelligence between the two allies.

The other deal would reduce regulations on cross-border trade.

Prime Minister Harper said the agreements are the most important between Canada and the U.S. in almost 20 years.

“These agreements create a new, modern border for a new century," said Prime Minister Harper. "Together they represent the most significant steps forward in Canada-U.S. cooperation since the North American Free Trade Agreement.”

The two leaders also discussed an issue that has caused some difficulty between them, the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, which would pump oil from Canada to the US state of Texas.

Mr. Obama delayed a decision on a route for the pipeline until 2013, after environmentalists complained about the possible ecological impact.

The president said Wednesday he told Mr. Harper it is important to ensure that all questions about the project are answered before the pipeline goes ahead.

Opposition Republicans in Congress say the $7 billion project would create thousands of jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil.  Republican leaders have threatened to approve Mr. Obama’s proposal to extend payroll tax cuts only if he approves the Keystone pipeline too.

The president warned Republican lawmakers not to hold hostage the payroll tax cut or any other legislation.

“Any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut, I will reject," he said.

Mr. Obama also said he is pleased that Canada has expressed an interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a nine-country trade group. Japan and Mexico have also shown interest in joining the group.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs