Canada and the U.S. have officially launched negotiations on a trade and security agreement which would take continental integration to the next level. A declaration issued by the leaders follows months of secret preliminary talks. The deal would work towards facilitating the movement of travel and trade across the northern border. This includes pursuing a perimeter approach to security in an effort to better address common threats. The agreement sets in motion an agenda with the aim of going beyond NAFTA and further expanding on the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), but in the context of a bilateral framework.
On February 4, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a declaration which, “establishes a new long-term partnership that will accelerate the legitimate flows of people and goods between both countries, while strengthening security and economic competitiveness.” Beyond the Border: a Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness will, “focus on four areas of co-operation: addressing threats early; trade facilitation, economic growth and jobs; integrated cross-border law enforcement; and critical infrastructure and cyber-security.” According to the declaration, both nations will, “develop a joint action plan on perimeter security and economic competitiveness that will set out a range of initiatives in the four key areas to improve both countries’ ability to manage security risks, while facilitating the flow of people, goods and services.” The newly formed Beyond the Border Working Group will, “report to their respective Leaders in the coming months, and after a period of consultation, with a joint Plan of Action to realize the goals of this declaration.” The agenda set forth is nothing more than a rehashing of some of the SPP's security priorities, but without Mexican involvement.