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U.S., Canada unveil border security deals
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U.S., Canada unveil border security deals

Agreement aimed at guarding against terrorism, easing traffic delays

  • Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Dec. 29, 2010. The two leaders unveiled a border security agreement Wednesday aimed at securing the U.S.-Canada border and improving traffic.
    US Mission Canada/FlickrBarack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Dec. 29, 2010. The two leaders unveiled a border security agreement Wednesday aimed at securing the U.S.-Canada border and improving traffic.

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have unveiled new border security deal aimed at guarding against terrorism and speeding up cross-border traffic.

The joint approach to border protection involves enhanced "tracking of travelers, better cyber-security protection, joint government facilities and improved oversight of overseas cargo shipped to both countries," according to the National Post.

The agreement comes despite months of speculation about the declining state of the U.S. relationship with its largest trading partner.

The Obama administration in September proposed a jobs bill containing "Buy American" provisions similar to proposed legislation that strained the U.S.-Canada relations for much of 2009.

The "American Jobs Act" would prevent Canadian firms from bidding on U.S. contracts, a move criticized by the Harper government for being trade protectionist.

However on Wednesday, Harper reportedly hailed the deals, announced after talks with Obama at the White House on Wednesday, as the most significant step forward in U.S.-Canada co-operation since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

He said the deals, though likely take years to implement, would create "a new, modern border for a new century," enhancing the mutual security of both countries while easing border traffic delays.

"Canada has no friends among America's enemies," Harper said Agence France-Presse reported. "Today's agreement will yield lasting dividends to travelers, traders, manufacturers, in fact everybody — whose legitimate business or pleasure takes them across the border."

AFP quoted Obama as saying: "We will make it easier to conduct the trade and travel that creates jobs. We're going to make it harder for those who do us harm and threaten our security. Because of old systems and heavy congestion it still takes too many products too long to cross the borders. And for every business, Canadian or American, time is money."

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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