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Fact Sheet: Beyond the Border Key Questions and Answers

Release Date: 
December 6, 2011

Q: Why is the United States pursuing the initiatives in the Beyond the Border Action Plan?

  • As President Obama and Prime Minister Harper articulated on February 4, 2011 in a joint declaration, Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, given the intertwined nature of the economies and societies of the United States and Canada, as well as our shared critical infrastructure and key resources, a threat to one country is a threat to both.
  • As each other’s largest trading partners, we also recognize the importance of expedited and secure cross-border travel and trade to creating jobs and supporting economic competitiveness.
  • Working more closely with Canadian officials to identify and address shared threats will make both countries safer. Identifying legitimate flows of people and goods away from the border as well as potential threats before they come to our shores will help us concentrate enforcement activities to target illicit activities.
  • As we have seen in more than 60 years of working closely with Canadians at NORAD in the defense arena, cooperation between our governments can and does make both countries more secure while reflecting the deep partnership and values that we share.

Q: How does the Beyond the Border Action Plan build upon what we’re currently doing?

  • The United States works closely with Canada on a variety of discrete border, security, and competitiveness issues. This Plan includes a long-term coordinated vision of what we are trying to achieve.
  • Through the Beyond the Border declaration, the President and Prime Minister articulated the long-term vision for security and economic cooperation, committing our countries to working together to address threats within, at, and away from our border while facilitating lawful trade and travel.
  • The Beyond the Border Action Plan sets the path forward for how to achieve the President and Prime Minister’s vision.

Q: How much will Beyond the Border cost to implement?

  • We will make resource decisions related to implementing jointly identified efforts through the normal budget and appropriations process, in careful consultation with Congress.
  • We expect that cooperation and better coordination with Canada, streamlining existing processes, and expanding the use of existing technologies related to our collective security efforts while make us more effective and efficient.

Q: How does Beyond the Border make us more competitive?

  • Working with Canada to secure and facilitate the lawful movement of people, goods, and services will help create U.S. jobs by reducing barriers to our largest export market. We are also working to ensure that our travel and trade networks are protected from threats and economic disruptions.

Q: Does Beyond the Border affect NAFTA?

  • Beyond the Border is not a trade agreement and does not implicate our NAFTA obligations. It is a clear directive from the President and the Prime Minister for the U.S. and Canadian governments to work together to improve how we handle common threats and better manage our mutual security to make us more secure and more economically competitive. Greater physical security will result in greater economic security, and this Declaration outlines a framework for the U.S.-Canada relationship going forward.

Q: What role do interested stakeholders have in the Beyond the Border initiatives?

  • Partnerships will be critical if we are to achieve the goals set out in the Beyond the Border Action Plan. We are firmly committed to working with all stakeholders as the implementation work commences.

Read the Beyond the Border Action Plan

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