Readout Of Secretary Napolitano's Meeting With Secretary Lahood And Canadian Minister Lebel

Press Release

By:  Janet Napolitano
Date: Dec. 9, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today joined Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood to meet with Canadian Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Denis Lebel to discuss the ongoing partnership between the United States and Canada to work on a shared approach to border and transportation security, while expediting lawful trade and travel.

"The U.S. and Canada continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder addressing shared challenges, as strong partners, friends, and neighbors," said Secretary Napolitano. "The Beyond the Border Action Plan ensures that we will be able to create jobs and spur economic growth while preserving the safety and security of both our countries."

On Wednesday, Secretary Napolitano joined President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper to unveil two initiatives -- the Beyond the Border (BTB) Action Plan and the Regulatory Cooperation Council -- which build upon our bilateral cooperation on trade, investment, emergency preparedness, security and defense. The BTB Action Plan will maintain and expand our ability to keep people, goods, and services safe and secure and decrease unnecessary barriers to trade, thereby improving economic competitiveness. The BTB Action Plan lays out common priorities for achieving a new long-term security partnership by addressing threats early; promoting trade facilitation, economic growth and jobs; strengthening cross-border law enforcement; and protecting shared critical infrastructure, including enhancing cybersecurity.

Under the BTB plan, Canada and the U.S. will strengthen their global competitiveness by aligning and coordinating security systems for goods and cargo, expanding trusted trader programs, and decongesting key border crossings -- which add time and cost to production -- by developing joint facilities and programs to move inspections away from the border. The BTB Plan also calls for development of a joint Border Infrastructure Investment Plan and for full pre-clearance of U.S.-bound passenger rail and cruise ship travelers in Vancouver, British Columbia. Similarly, through the RCC Action Plan, Canada and the U.S. will harmonize regulations in key industries, reducing the burden on businesses engaged in cross-border commerce.

"The U.S. and Canada have strong shared interests in transportation, security and trade,'" said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "The Beyond the Border initiative launched by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper is an important step that will lead to more jobs and continued economic growth while protecting our national security interests."

Over the past two years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made critical security improvements along the Northern border, investing in additional inspectors at the ports of entry, Border Patrol agents between the ports, and technology and infrastructure that enhance security and expedite travel. In August, Secretary Napolitano met with Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews to discuss their shared vision for perimeter security and strengthen information sharing to better combat cross-border crime.

Earlier today, Secretary Napolitano participated in a moderated dialogue titled "International Security Partnerships and Our Shared Responsibility," hosted by the Council of Foreign Relations. During the discussion, Secretary Napolitano highlighted her recent participation in the G6+1 Ministerial Meetings in Paris, and meetings with her counterparts in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Secretary Napolitano underscored the importance of the Department's work with international partners to strengthen global travel and trade networks, secure cyberspace, and address global security threats.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.