Statement by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
Implementation of the Smart Border Declaration and Action Plan
September 9, 2002
Nearly one year ago, terrorists launched an attack on our common commitment
to freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and an open world economy. The United
States and Canada have responded together with the shared determination that
has always characterized the partnership between our two great nations.
American and Canadian troops have fought side-by-side to free the Afghan people
from Taliban rule, and to destroy the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. Our governments
are sharing intelligence and coordinating law enforcement action to address
threats to our societies. We have partnered diplomatically, working together
at the G-8 Summit in June to secure the commitment of the world's largest economies
to increase the security of the global transportation and trading system. Officials
from dozens of American and Canadian agencies have worked together with determination
and dedication and our citizens have found countless ways to support each other.
When we met on September 24th last year, we resolved to prevent terrorists from
undermining the national and economic security of our citizens. We charged Homeland
Security Advisor Tom Ridge and Deputy Prime Minister John Manley with coordinating
our governments' cooperation along the longest, non-militarized border in the
world. They recognized the urgent need to enhance security in a way that strengthened
the extraordinary trading relationship between our countries and the prosperity
that it provides our citizens.
On December 12, 2001 Governor Ridge and Deputy Prime Minister Manley signed
"The Smart Border Declaration," and immediately began implementing
an aggressive and sweeping 30-point action plan to build a smart border for
the 21st century -- a border that is secure and efficient; a border open for
business but closed to terrorists.
On June 28, 2002, they reported on the tremendous progress that has already
been made in implementing the Smart Border Action Plan. We are on-track to implement
many action plan elements over the coming months and years, bringing continuous
and steady improvement to the efficiency and security of our shared border.
Today, we mark important milestones in two of the programs that are central
to building a smart border.
The United States and Canada have the largest trading relationship of any two
countries in the world, and more trade flows between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor,
Ontario than through any other border crossing. Today we announce a major step
forward in ensuring the secure and efficient flow of goods across the border
with the opening of registration for the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program.
This revolutionary program partners the United States and Canadian governments
with the private sector to ensure a secure supply chain for low-risk goods.
FAST will make many cross-border commercial shipments simpler, cheaper, and
subject to fewer delays -- all while enhancing security. FAST will be open by
December 2002 at the following crossings: Blaine/Douglas, Detroit/Windsor, Port
Huron/Sarnia, Buffalo/Fort Erie, Lewiston/Queenston, and Champlain/Lacolle.
The closeness of our two societies is evidenced by the fact that over 200 million
people cross our shared border every year. In order to allow known travelers
to cross the border quickly and easily, the United States and Canada have begun
fielding a new program called NEXUS that provides dedicated "fast lanes"
for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. NEXUS is already running at four border
crossings. Today we are opening the joint NEXUS application center in Detroit.
NEXUS will be operational at both Detroit/Windsor and Buffalo/Fort Erie beginning
in January of 2003 and will be expanded to all other high-volume crossings between
the two countries by the end of 2003. We have also developed a NEXUS-Air program,
which we will begin piloting in airports in early 2003.
A secure and efficient border is key to our economic security. We must continue
our efforts to involve the private sector as we proceed with modernizing our
shared border. To this end, Governor Ridge and Deputy Prime Minister Manley
will work with our key agencies and departments to ensure that they have in
place efficient and effective mechanisms for consulting with the private sector.
This will be part of an ongoing process of formally involving private sector
leaders in our border work.
More work remains, and the United States and Canada reaffirm our commitment
to fully realize the smart border vision. Some of the smart border action items
will take sustained cooperation, effort and investment. We have directed Governor
Ridge and Deputy Prime Minister Manley to continue overseeing implementation
of the Smart Border Action Plan, and provide us periodic progress reports. In
addition, we have asked that they identify and initiate work in other areas
where close cooperation serves our mutual interests, such as biosecurity and
science and technology research and development.
Our relationship has never been stronger. We are neighbors who share a common
border, but more importantly we are neighbors bound together by common values:
freedom, democracy, the rule of law, the inherent dignity and rights of every
We are also neighbors who share a common mission: to protect the security and
enhance the prosperity of our citizens. Working together, we will fulfill this