The U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border Executive Steering Committee (ESC) met September 4 to discuss progress in the three years since President Obama and Prime Minister Harper launched the Beyond the Border initiative to enhance our cooperation in trade facilitation and ensure security at our shared border. The ESC includes government interagency participation from the U.S. and Canada, as well as a Mexican government representative as an observer. The ESC will release the third annual Implementation Report to Leaders in the coming months.
Some Notable Beyond the Border Accomplishments to Date
- The NEXUS Program has enrolled its one-millionth member, providing little or no delay to pre-screened, low-risk travelers into the United States and Canada. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) jointly launched NEXUS in 2000.
- Phase II of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot at the Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York is testing the feasibility of reducing wait times and border congestion by conducting primary inspection of U.S. bound commercial traffic in Canada. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and CBP, in partnership with Public Safety Canada and CBSA, officially launched the pilot in February of 2014.
- On February 19, 2014, the President signed the Executive Order on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses. The Executive Order cuts processing and approval times from days to minutes for small businesses that export American-made goods and services by completing the International Trade Data System (ITDS) by December 2016. The ITDS will save businesses time and money, and dramatically reduce the number of forms a business has to fill out to import or export.
- The United States and Canada signed a Visa and Immigration Information-Sharing agreement in December 2012. This agreement enables Canada and the United States to share information from third country nationals who apply for a visa or permit to travel to either country. This will better protect the safety and security of U.S. and Canadian citizens and facilitate legitimate travel and business.
- The U.S. and Canada are coordinating border infrastructure investments through the establishment of a binational five-year Border Infrastructure Investment Plan (BIIP). The first-ever BIIP, prepared by Transport Canada, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and CBSA, in consultation with states, provinces and border operators, was released in 2013 and a more comprehensive second edition will be released by the end of 2014. The United States has invested more than $173 million dollars on transportation border infrastructure since 2011.
Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness
On February 4, 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. Under the leaders’ framework, the governments of the United States and Canada have worked together to address four main pillars of work: addressing threats early; trade facilitation, economic growth and jobs; cross-border law enforcement; and critical infrastructure and cybersecurity. This initiative has resulted in tangible results to reduce delays for travelers and expedite trade in a safe and efficient manner, while maintaining a secure border. These efforts improve the lives of residents, visitors and businesses in both our countries.