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Archived - About SPP

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The SPP was launched by the leaders of Canada, the United States (U.S.) and Mexico in March 2005. It builds on other existing positive and productive bilateral and trilateral relationships established with Canada's North American partners, through such mechanisms as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration; and the Canada-Mexico Partnership. The SPP provides a flexible means for a dialogue, priority setting, collaboration and action on issues affecting the security, prosperity and quality of life of Canadians, Americans and Mexicans. It addresses diverse issues, such as border facilitation, the environment, food and product safety, and includes measures to improve overall North American competitiveness.

The SPP is based on respect for each country's sovereignty, unique heritage, culture and laws. As a non-binding partnership, it seeks to find practical solutions to concrete issues while not duplicating or replicating existing mechanisms. It is neither a treaty nor an international agreement but rather, an ongoing dialogue among Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to address common challenges across North America.

The SPP provides benefits for Canadian businesses and citizens alike. For our businesses, the SPP seeks to leverage North American strengths, including its vast market and integrated value chains, as a platform for innovation and global success.

As traditional economic patterns and ways of doing business continue to change, Canadian, American and Mexican companies are increasingly making goods and performing services together rather than each producing and selling goods to one another. Increasingly, intra-firm trade has become a regular way of doing business. Our economy continues to be highly integrated with that of the United States with approximately $1.9 billion (U.S.) in trade crossing the Canada-U.S. border each day. We depend upon just-in-time manufacturing processes and smart borders to move goods, people and investment securely and efficiently so as to avoid burdening the value chain with unnecessary delays, added costs or other factors that undermine productivity.

Under the SPP, the government is working to ensure that Canadian companies maintain their competitive advantage through such means as securing continued access to U.S. suppliers and markets, working on smart border initiatives and related infrastructure improvements, and minimizing the "tyranny of small differences" through regulatory cooperation. Through this cooperation with our North American neighbours, Canadian firms are better positioned to compete with counterparts from emerging economies gaining competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

For our citizens, the aim of the SPP is to improve their quality of life by enhancing security through North American pandemic planning, reducing wait times at the Canada-U.S. border, strengthening food and product safety, and improving access to consumer goods.

The SPP is based on the principle that our security and prosperity are mutually dependent and complementary. Cooperation in intelligence, border management, law enforcement and transportation security is intended to reduce criminal activity and terrorist risks, thereby making our communities safer, facilitating legitimate trade and travel, and protecting our quality of life. Collaborative planning and prevention strategies will help ensure reduced impact, coordinated response and faster recovery from disaster situations, whether public health, cyber, natural, human error or terrorist in nature.

Priorities are set by leaders at annual North American Leaders' Summits. This year's Summit will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana. The previous North American Leaders' Summit was in Montebello, Quebec, where leaders reported on progress made since the Cancun Summit and announced five priorities for the coming year. The following lists the five Montebello Priorities (each a link to more info under priorities).

  • Enhancing the Global Competitiveness of North America
  • Safe Food and Products
  • Sustainable Energy and the Environment
  • Smart and Secure Borders
  • Emergency Management and Preparedness

In addition, the leaders noted the progress made in advancing SPP priorities identified at the Cancun Summit, including the completion of a North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza PDF Version (PDF, 3 094 KB, 53 pages); a Regulatory Cooperation Framework PDF Version (PDF, 27 KB, 4 pages); an Intellectual Property Action Strategy PDF Version (PDF, 42 KB, 8 pages); and a Trilateral Agreement for Cooperation in Energy Science and Technology PDF Version (PDF, 121 KB, 15 pages).

Accomplishments to date since the March 2005 announcement of the SPP cover a wide range of initiatives designed to enhance the quality of life for North American citizens.

In Canada, the Minister of Industry is the Minister responsible for leading SPP initiatives on behalf of the federal government. In addition to this role, the Minister of Industry is also responsible for overseeing progress on priorities identified under the "Prosperity" pillar of the SPP. The Minister works in close collaboration with the Minister of Public Safety - who is the Minister responsible for leading the agenda of the "Security" pillar - and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as Ministers of other federal departments who lead on specific initiatives.