The Congressional Northern Border Caucus held a panel discussion on Capitol Hill today to highlight the work being done through the Beyond the Border Action Plan, the Regulatory Cooperation Council and other initiatives with a focus on improving trade and security cooperation between the United States and Canada. Caucus co-Chairmen Bill Owens (D-NY) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) hosted the event, which featured remarks by the Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer and Assistant Secretary Alan Bersin from the Department of Homeland Security. Representatives from the business community including Michael Fitzpatrick of General Electric and Kelly Johnston of Campbell Soups also joined the panel to offer private sector perspectives on joint US-Canada economic competitiveness.
"There is a bright economic future ahead for the United States and Canada," said Congressman Bill Owens following the event. "Through the Beyond the Border agreement and other initiatives, we are finding new ways to improve the security procedures and regulatory frameworks that shape the way people do business along the Northern Border. By further capitalizing on our unique partnership with Canada, new opportunities will emerge to establish a North American century in which both countries can prosper and succeed."
"Today, we discussed increasing trade between the United States and Canada without having to compromise our mutual security," said Congressman Kevin Cramer. "With our long friendship of working together, we are confident in our ability to streamline processes to enhance both trade and security. Then we can take this experience and apply it to enhance trade and security with other countries. I look forward to continuing work with my colleagues in Congress, Canadian officials, business leaders, and others to improve the quality of life for our citizens."
Congressman Owens pointed to the Beyond the Border Action Plan's initiative to synthesize data processing mechanisms related to customs inspections, a move that would reduce wait times and administrative burdens for goods crossing the border in both directions. These reforms can have a significant impact on business growth and job creation for border communities. Other participants also highlighted the opportunities that exist in the mutual recognition of screening programs like those administered by Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration. Equalizing standards between regulatory agencies in Canada and the U.S. with similar missions could cut costs and expedite the lawful movement of people and goods between the US and Canada, the world's largest trading relationship.
U.S. and Canadian representatives including Owens also used the event as an opportunity to reiterate their opposition to a proposal to study fees along the border. The event included over 50 attendees, including Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-1), Ambassador David Wilkins (former U.S. Ambassador to Canada), House and Senate office staff, Canadian Government officials, and private sector representatives from organizations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian American Business Council.
Today's panel discussion marked the second event Congressman Owens has held in the past month related to Canadian trade and economic development along the Northern Border. Earlier this month the Congressman hosted a forum at Clarkson University to bring business and government interests together to discuss trade and travel between the U.S. and Canada and what it means for job creation in New York.