Editors Note: This blog was originally posted on the White House blog on December 19, 2013.
Today the United States and Canada released the 2013 Implementation Report on the Beyond the Border Initiative. The report highlights the significant progress we have made over the last year to enhance economic cooperation and to address threats before they reach our common border. Our two countries are doing all we can to make trade and travel easier and less expensive, supporting economic competiveness and prosperity, while partnering to keep our communities safe.
Since President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper announced the Beyond the Border Declaration in 2011, we have worked together to benefit residents, travelers, and industry in both countries while enhancing security, trade and travel facilitation, critical infrastructure protection, and emergency management. We are jointly collaborating before goods or travelers even arrive at the border, embracing a perimeter security approach where possible.
For example, this year, under the “cleared once, accepted twice” principle, both countries have started to rely on the other’s offshore inspections of marine shipments to reduce the need for re-inspection at the land border. Also, the U.S. truck cargo pre-inspection pilot in Surrey, British Columbia, tested new approaches for conducting screening at the land border. We are building on these accomplishments to complete preclearance negotiations for all transportation modes. Each of these initiatives helps goods move securely and more quickly across our shared border.
We are also successfully using the NEXUS trusted traveler program to benefit industry, travelers and our two governments. In the last year, membership in the NEXUS trusted traveler program grew by approximately 50 percent. Program participants save time and receive an expanded set of benefits when traveling. At the land border, Canada opened additional NEXUS lanes to complement the existing U.S. investments and to expedite the border clearance process. At airports and in marine reporting locations, access to expedited passenger screening lines at designated locations in both countries and access to NEXUS and Global Entry trusted traveler kiosks facilitates the border clearance process and allows our border agencies to redirect their resources to unknown travelers.
Going forward, both countries are committed to building on these shared accomplishments to achieve the vision of our President and the Canadian Prime Minister. We intend to upgrade infrastructure at priority border crossings, implement a single window for border transactions, and harmonize trusted trader programs between our two countries. We will continue to pursue creative and effective solutions to truly go “Beyond the Border.”
For more information on Beyond the Border, visit www.dhs.gov/beyond-the-border.
Amy Pope is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Transborder Security at the National Security Council. Ricardo Zuniga is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council.