Canada and the U.S. Need a Better Border

Dec 5, 2011

Canada and the United States share a 5,525 mile border–the world's longest–and a close trading partnerships. Unfortunately, over the years, barriers have arisen to make it harder to travel and trade across the border, threatening economic growth and job creation.

In a jointly penned op-ed, Perrin Beatty, head of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, note that

Over the past decade, both governments have responded to threats by adding new border mandates and hurdles rather than replacing broken or insufficient policies with ones that work. This thickening of the border has come at a great cost to trade, travel and tourism, and personal mobility. We are developing a border that is more fitting for two wary adversaries rather than the loyal friends and dedicated allies we are and will always be.

Beatty and Donohue outline suggestions that the two chambers of commerce offered to the bilateral agreement, "Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness:"

  • enhance the benefits of trusted trader and traveller programs;
  • eliminate hassles for business travellers;
  • align and simplify customs procedures by expanding pre-clearance;
  • modernize staffing models and business standards across government departments; and
  • improve search and seizure capabilities to better protect intellectual property rights

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be Washington, DC, this week to meet with President Obama and release the bilateral agreement. Hopefully it'll "fix what’s broken" with the border and encourage continued trade between the two countries.

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