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Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Map Credit:  U.S. State Department
U.S. Relations With Canada
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Fact Sheet
June 29, 2012 

The United States and Canada share two borders and their bilateral relationship is among the closest and most extensive in the world. It is reflected in the high volume of bilateral trade--the equivalent of $1.6 billion a day in goods--as well as in people-to-people contact. About 300,000 people cross between the countries every day by all modes of transport. In fields ranging from security and law enforcement to environmental protection to free trade, the two countries work closely on multiple levels from federal to local.

U.S. defense arrangements with Canada are more extensive than with any other country. The Permanent Joint Board on Defense provides policy-level consultation on bilateral defense matters and the United States and Canada share North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mutual security commitments. U.S. and Canadian military forces cooperate on continental defense within the framework of the binational North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

The Beyond the Border initiative outlines a vision for perimeter security and economic competitiveness whereby the United States and Canada work in partnerships within, at, and away from our borders to achieve enhanced security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between our two countries. The United States has several successful joint law enforcement programs with Canada such as the Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET), Border Enforcement Security Taskforces (BEST), and the ShipRider Integrated Cross Border Maritime Law Enforcement program. Senior leadership engages in these efforts through fora such as the Cross Border Crime Forum (CBCF), which is chaired by the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security with their Canadian counterparts. As part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan, U.S. and Canadian officials are enhancing cross-border law enforcement radio interoperability and building on the successes of programs such as IBET, BEST, and ShipRider to develop the next generation of integrated cross-border law enforcement.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducts preclearance operations at eight Canadian airports, allowing air travelers to arrive at domestic terminals in the United States by screening and making admissibility decisions about U.S.-bound travelers and their accompanying goods or baggage prior to departure. The United States and Canada intend to enhance preclearance operations and expand them to also cover land, rail, and ferry/cruise travel as part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan.

The United States and Canada work together to resolve and manage transboundary environmental and water issues. A principal instrument of this cooperation is the International Joint Commission established under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty. Under the Columbia River Treaty, Canada and the United States jointly regulate and manage the Columbia River as it flows from British Columbia into the United States. The two countries cooperate on a range of bilateral fisheries issues and international high seas governance initiatives, and are both founding members of the Arctic Council.

The bilateral Clean Energy Dialogue is charged with expanding clean energy research and development; developing and deploying clean energy technology; and building a more efficient electricity grid based on clean and renewable energy in order to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change in both countries. Canada is an ally of the United States in international climate change negotiations. Canada participates in the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate; the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which aims to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies in major industrial sectors; and the International Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, which researches effective ways to capture and store carbon dioxide.

U.S. Assistance to Canada
The United States provides no foreign assistance to Canada.

Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States and Canada share the world's largest and most comprehensive trading relationship, which supports millions of jobs in each country. Canada is the single largest foreign supplier of energy to the United States. Recognition of the commercial viability of Canada's oil sands has made it the world's third largest holder of oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and is the only non-OPEC member in the top five. Canada and the United States operate an integrated electricity grid that meets jointly developed reliability standards, and they provide all of each other's electricity imports. Canadian uranium helps fuel U.S. nuclear power plants.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the United States, Canada, and Mexico aims to reduce trade barriers and establish agreed upon trade rules. It has resolved long-standing bilateral irritants and liberalized rules in several areas, including agriculture, services, energy, financial services, investment, and government procurement. The Regulatory Cooperation Council seeks to further stimulate trade by increasing regulatory transparency and cooperation between the United States and Canada and eliminating unnecessary regulatory differences and duplicative actions that hinder cross-border trade and investment.

Canada and the United States have one of the world's largest investment relationships. The United States is Canada's largest foreign investor, and Canada is the fifth-largest foreign investor in the United States. U.S. investment is primarily in Canada's mining and smelting industries, petroleum, chemicals, the manufacture of machinery and transportation equipment, and finance. Canadian investment in the United States is concentrated in finance and insurance, manufacturing, banking, information and retail trade, and other services.

Bilateral trade disputes are managed through bilateral consultative forums or referral to NAFTA or World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution procedures. Canada has challenged U.S. trade remedy law in NAFTA and WTO dispute settlement mechanisms. The two countries negotiated the application to Canadian goods of "Buy American" provisions for state and local procurement under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The United States has encouraged Canada to strengthen its intellectual property laws and enforcement. Canada passed an important copyright law on June 28, 2012.

Canada's Membership in International Organizations
In addition to their close bilateral ties, Canada and the United States cooperate in multilateral fora, including international efforts to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. The two countries belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, WTO, G8, G20, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Organization of American States, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Canada accepted an invitation to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade agreement being negotiated among the United States and other countries.