Canada-U.S. Agriculture Trade: Context On This Week’s Critical Letter from U.S. Congressional Reps

August 8, 2014

Huffington Post Canada reports on a letter penned by 140 U.S. Congressional representatives hitting protectionist Japanese and Canadian agricultural trade policies.  Concerns over U.S. access to the Canadian agricultural sector make sense, since $41.7 billion in agriculture and agri-food was traded between Canada and the United States in 2012 alone.

But this point of bilateral tension becomes even more important as talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are dove-tailing with the European Union and Canada finalizing their own trade pact, CETA.  Unsurprisingly, agriculturally issues were a thorny part of CETA negotiations.

But, before getting too down on Canada’s agricultural trade policies with the United States, keep in mind Canada-U.S. agriculture trade in 2012 was up 25% from 2010, 151% from 2000, and 317% from 1993 (pre-NAFTA).  

Yes, as with most complicated policy areas, more can be done in both the United States and Canada to foster liberalized trade–whether within or beyond the agricultural sector.  

But the Canada-U.S. agricultural trade relationship is robust.  And the bilateral relationship has consistently displayed how two nations can settle disputes peacefully and work progressively towards mutually beneficial trade relationships.

And, even more encouraging, is the commitment of Canada and the United States to focus on regulatory cooperation in various trade sectors.  While standardizing regulatory terminology for wholesale cuts of meat won’t trade headlines like CETA news or critical Congressional letters, it’s progress of these issues that will keep the Canadian and American marketplaces competitive throughout the 21st century.


Canada-U.S. News Round-Up

August 6, 2014

BTB Action Plan Update: Canada-U.S. Announce Three Key Deliverables

July 23, 2014

This Monday, Canada and the United States announced three Beyond the Border Action Plan deliverables:

Canada and the United States have the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship, and initiatives like these increase trade, enhance border security, and help make North American companies more competitive in the global market place.

From press release issued Monday:

The United States and Canada today announced the two countries are delivering on key Beyond the Border Action Plan commitments related to joint Trusted Traveler and Trusted Trader programs through U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Canada Border Services Agency. The deliverables include the official opening of the eGate pilot project that allows NEXUS members extended expedited passage at the Peace Bridge port of entry in Fort Erie, Ontario.

“Our continued success in achieving Beyond the Border milestones illustrates our commitment to a strong partnership between the United States and Canada,” said CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “The harmonization of trusted trader and traveler programs benefits those crossing the border as well as the economic security of both countries.”

“These innovative initiatives are important examples of the continued enhancements being made to these successful Trusted Traveller and Trusted Trader programs,” said The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “They highlight our binational commitment to initiatives outlined in the Beyond the Border Action Plan. I am confident that these steps will keep travel and trade moving efficiently and securely between Canada and the United States.”

More on Joint Canada-U.S. Border Crossings

May 9, 2014

Last month, BTBObserver blogged on a proposal to create a joint customs station for the New International Trade Crossing (NIBC), a planned border bridge border crossing between Windsor and Detroit.

As mentioned in that post, there are already existing joint Canada-U.S. customs stations.  After reaching out to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), BTBObserver can share more information on existing joint Canada-U.S. border crossings.

Currently, there are six joint Canada-U.S. customs stations that stretch from Vermont to Washington State.  All are relatively new, with three built in the 1990s and another three constructed after the Canada-United States Accord on Our Shared Border (the Accord) in 1995.

Read CBSA’s email to BTBObserver after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

Keystone XL Greenlight Has 57 Votes in the Senate, But Is 67 the Magic Number?

May 1, 2014

The Senate seems close to voting on a Keystone XL “green-light” bill.  And, even better for Keystone-backers, the bill is edging close to 60 votes.  But it’ll likely need 67 to bypass the White House’s predicted veto.

The Senate may vote on approving Keystone without White House approval in exchange for Republican votes on a energy efficiency bill sponsored by Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Bob Portman (R-OH).  

The White House isn’t thrilled, and appears likely to veto any bill green lighting Keystone.  That would, in turn, require 67 votes in the Senate and 290 in the House.  So, not only would Republicans need another handful of Democratic Senators, they’d also need–at a minimum–57 Democratic votes in the House (or 25% of the Democratic, Nancy Pelosi-led Democratic caucus).

From today’s The Hill:

Eleven Democrats are among the 56 senators backing the bill, which would immediately give pipeline developer TransCanada the green light on a permit to begin construction of Keystone XL, according to a release from Landrieu’s office. 

Democrats discussed the issue during a meeting on Thursday, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) expressed optimism a deal would be reached to allow a vote.

“There’s a 70-80 percent chance we can work something out on Keystone,” he said Thursday. 

Earlier this week, Reid said he wanted to bring an energy efficiency bill to the floor, but Republicans are trying to have a larger debate on energy issues.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said Republicans aren’t interested in a nonbinding sense-of-the-Senate vote on Keystone, which would not have any legal effect. The Senate voted on a similar nonbinding measure last year.

From the National Post earlier this week:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in an abrupt election-year shift in strategy, opened the possibility on Tuesday of allowing a vote on congressional approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

“I’m open to anything that will move energy efficiency,” Reid, a long-time foe of the project, told reporters.

He was referring to a bill that would save energy through tougher building codes sponsored by senators Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, and Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, that the Senate is expected to consider as early as next week.

Details were unclear, but in exchange for Republicans supporting the efficiency bill, Reid could permit a vote on a measure that would allow Congress to approve the bill of the pipeline. The vote could allow Democratic senators facing tough elections in November to be seen as supporting the project.


David Moloney, Key Crossborder Economic and Security Official, Retires

May 1, 2014


A critical member of the Canada’s BtB and RCC team has retired.

David Moloney, Senior Advisor to the Canadian Privy Council Office (PCO), retired last week from the Canadian Public Service.

Moloney’s career has spanned 30 years, with positions searching from the Bank of Canada to Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet.

His most recent role was as the PCO’s lead for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Border Action Plan Implementation Team.  This position, along with his deep experience in related public positions, made him a critical part of implementing the Beyond the Border Declaration.

Check out his 2012 PowerPoint presentation on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness here.  And listen to Moloney talk about the Beyond the Border (BtB) Action Plan at this July 2012 panel discussion hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute.  From the panel event’s summary:

The primary goal of the Beyond the Border Action Plan, said David Moloney of Canada’s Privy Council Office, is to ensure that cargo is inspected only once when entering either Canada or the United States. Currently, if an import from Asia arrives at the Canadian port of Prince Rupert, it must be stopped and go through an additional inspection before it can enter the United States. The Action Plan will ensure that one inspection, whether American or Canadian, will be sufficient to guarantee the security of both countries. To accomplish these ambitious goals, the Action Plan sets out very clear dates and assigned leads for the completion of its various programs and pilot projects, as well as tight oversight to ensure progress. Moloney pointed out that international cooperation on this scale is rare, and the Action Plan demonstrates the strength and depth of the Canada-U.S. relationship.

A small sense of the critical, if not always glamorous work, Moloney performed can be seen in these two letters.

RCC Webinar: “Good Manufacturing Practices” Health and Personal Care Products and Workplace Chemicals

April 29, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of International Programs is hosting a Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) webinar. See details below or go to under “News and Events.”

Check out this backgrounder on the RCC’s workplan for Personal Care Products and Pharmaceuticals. also offers this, now likely dated, summary:

Increased regulatory cooperation in the area of health and personal care products and workplace chemicals will create efficiencies, reduce inspection duplication, enable products to be brought to market more quickly, facilitate trade, and lessen the potential for classification and labelling confusion. Specifically, the Joint Action Plan aims to enhance regulatory cooperation in these areas by implementing:

A common secure electronic submission system to allow industry applicants to submit documents to Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration;

Common monographs (information on product specifications and use) for over-the-counter drugs;

Mutual reliance on routine inspections of production facilities for drugs and personal care products; &

Common classification and labelling requirements for workplace hazardous chemicals.

RCC Webinar:  “Good Manufacturing Practices”–Health and Personal Care Products and Workplace Chemicals

Date: Thursday, May 8, 2014

Time: 1:00 p.m. EDT
Meeting Number: 551 227 806
Meeting Password: rcc

To join the online meeting:

  1. Go to
  2. If you get a security message, click “Run a temporary application”
  3. Enter your name and email address
  4. Enter the meeting password: rcc
  5. Click “Join Now”

To join the teleconference

Call-in toll-free number: 1-877-413-4781
Call-in number: 1-613-960-7510  (Ottawa)
Conference ID: 958 283 1



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