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Action plan in place for creating secure and smart Canada/US border
By Paul Cellucci
The tragic events of September 11 made it clear exactly how important
North American security is and that we must establish a smart US/Canada
border that is open for business and tourism and legitimate travelers, but
is closed to terrorists, drug traffickers and others who seek to do harm.
The past year has seen difficult times
for Canada, the United States and the civilized world. We suffered a blow,
a terrible blow. We were the victims, in the United States, of
premeditated and cowardly acts of terrorism. Now, defeating terrorism is
at the top of our already long list of international priorities.
Militarily, Canada has provided valuable naval, air and ground assets.
Canadian ground forces are working shoulder to shoulder with US troops in
Afghanistan. It's a prime example of the overwhelming support and help
that the people of Canada and the government of Canada have provided to
the US since September 11.
I can tell you that the help started from
the very first moments of this tragedy. It started when the Prime Minister
called the Embassy in Ottawa and said: "Whatever we can do to
help." Across Canada, planes started arriving. Canadians opened their
homes and their hearts, and made sure that stranded passengers from the
United States and other countries were taken care of. There were
extraordinary acts of kindness.
It has continued with the humanitarian assistance that has been provided
and the money that has been raised across Canada to help the families of
firefighters, police officers and others who were killed in these
tragedies. Whatever was needed, Canada was there helping.
The United States and Canada are now
working together to make sure that the US/Canada border does not become an
impediment to the economic recovery that is needed in both of our
countries. Obviously, there is an emphasis on security, but some have cast
this as a choice between security and prosperity. There is no choice
here-we cannot have one without the other. Security is a necessary
foundation upon which we build our prosperity.
Our two countries have signed a 30-point action plan for creating a secure
and a smart border. There are four pillars to this plan: to secure the
flow of people, to secure the flow of goods, to secure infrastructure and
to coordinate and share information. The data will allow us to accomplish
these objectives. We will install state of the art technology at the
border, including the best in biometrics, transponders and intelligence
transportation systems. For example, NEXUS, a secure facilitative
technology for passenger vehicles, will replace the PACE program on the
Washington state/British Columbia border.
I am confident we are well on the way to
putting this secure and smart border in place so that we can keep the
US/Canada border open for business.
And we need to be open for business.
The US/Canada trade relationship is now over $500 billion per year-more
than $1.4 billion each and every day. Just to cite a couple of examples of
the dimensions of this trade: the State of Ohio alone exports more to
Canada than the entire United States exports to China. That's a pretty big
country. One week of our exports to Canada is equivalent to one year's
exports to Russia.
This is an extraordinarily mutually beneficial trade relationship, most of
which is problem free.
In terms of softwood lumber, I know how
vitally important this issue is to the people and the economy of Canada
and, specifically, British Columbia. We should never lose sight of the
fact that this dispute is about real jobs, real people and real families
on both sides of the border. It is also about the economic health of
hundreds of communities across Canada and the United States. That's the
reason why this issue has been so emotional and so difficult. It is
affecting families and communities on both sides of the border.
There are anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases that the US lumber
industry has brought, and has a right to bring, under United States law.
Canada is seeking relief from the World Trade Organization and the NAFTA
dispute mechanism, which Canada has a right to do under those treaties.
I think it's important to note that the
United States government did not initiate the legal processes-the US
forest industry was the petitioner. But the US government is working very
hard to build a consensus to find a solution to this long-term dispute.
In the talks, all parties have been represented on both sides of the
border. On the Canadian side, all the provinces are represented and on the
American side, it's not just the lumber industry; it's the homebuilders,
the retail hardware outlets, and consumers.
It is important to find a long-term
solution to this long-standing dispute. We will continue to work hard on
the US side to find the consensus needed to solve this dispute.
I believe we are indeed fortunate to live in two great countries, Canada
and the United States, two countries that have an amazing international
partnership, an international partnership that benefits the people of the
We are working together to defend our
democratic way of life by defeating terrorism and working together to
expand free trade to defeat poverty in this hemisphere and around the
globe. I have been reminded each and every day in these historic times
since the events of September 11 how lucky we are in the United States of
America to have such great friends in Canada.
Paul Cellucci is US Ambassador to Canada
and a former governor of Massachusetts. This is an edited version of a
speech presented earlier this year.
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