Canada and U.S. Chart Way Forward in Commercial Relationship
PS O’Toole Welcomes Phase Two of Regulatory Cooperation Council Work
October 8, 2014 – Washington, D.C. – Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Erin O’Toole, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, today endorsed the Joint Forward Plan developed by the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) at a meeting of more than 400 regulators and stakeholders from both sides of the border, including more than 80 Canadian business and industry representatives from 22 sectors, in Washington, D.C. Parliamentary Secretary O’Toole and the other meeting participants discussed how the work under the 2011 Joint Action Plan and new Joint Forward Plan will further Canada-U.S. regulatory alignment, recognize integrated supply chains and increase North American competitiveness.
The Joint Forward Plan, released in August 2014, marks a renewed commitment by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama to expand our commercial relationship. The plan is focused on eliminating unnecessary costs and duplication, removing red tape, reducing delays in bringing products to market and providing more predictability for integrated supply chains—all without compromising the health and safety of Canadians and Americans or protection of the environment. It enhances the work initiated in the 2011 RCC Joint Action Plan by moving beyond a focus on individual initiatives to include the development of more ambitious regulatory partnerships. The goal of these new partnerships is to entrench regulatory cooperation across a broad range of issues to help prevent misalignment in the future.
The Joint Forward Plan will continue progress related to marine safety and security, pharmaceuticals, food safety, plant and animal health, and crop protection products, while expanding into new areas such as energy efficiency, toy safety, medical devices, chemicals management and the use of natural gas in transportation.
Parliamentary Secretary O’Toole noted some of the specific results from the first phase of the plan, including development of a common electronic submission gateway for pharmaceutical and biological products, a pilot project for regulatory oversight on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, mutual decision making on zoning for foreign animal diseases, and development of a joint review process for agricultural pesticides with minor uses. Mr. O’Toole encouraged regulators and stakeholders in both countries to work together to realize the potential of this new phase of Canada-U.S. regulatory cooperation, which will help increase prosperity on both sides of the border.
In 2013, Canada-U.S. trade surpassed C$781 billion (goods and services), meaning that over $2 billion worth of goods and services crosses the border daily—over $1 million traded every minute.
Over 10 million jobs in both countries depend on Canada-U.S. trade—8 million in the United States and 2.4 million in Canada.
Canada-U.S. bilateral trade in goods and services has doubled under the North American Free Trade Agreement (1994).
In February 2011, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper launched the RCC to facilitate closer cooperation between Canada and the United States.
The initial phase of the RCC included 29 initiatives covering the transportation, agriculture, health and consumer products, and environment sectors, as well as nanotechnology.
The RCC has met regularly since it was established.
“Through the RCC, our two governments have been focusing on simplifying and aligning regulations. Aligning our regulatory approaches and reducing red tape leads to lower costs for Canadian firms and consumers, increased trade and investment opportunities, and ultimately to more jobs—on both sides of the border.”
– Erin O’Toole, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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