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Negotiating North America: The Security and ... - Hudson Institute

Negotiating North America: The Security and ... - Hudson Institute

Negotiating North America: The Security and Prosperity Partnership Summer 2007critical infrastructure, and to press the U.S. FederalAviation Administration and Transport Canada toexpedite completion of an agreement already beingnegotiated on the compatibility and equivalence ofsecurity and training standards for pilots, airline andairport personnel.The U.S.-Canada Smart Border Action Planrecognized a central obstacle to jointly improvingsecurity in the final section, ―Coordination andInformation Sharing in the Enforcement of theseObjectives.‖ This section exhorted law enforcementagencies to expand the use of binational, interagency,federal-state/provincial and even local IntegratedBorder Enforcement Teams, and Integrated MaritimeEnforcement Teams (IBETs/IMETs) and tocoordinate enforcement whenever the evidence trailcrossed the shared border. New joint teams wouldreview and share intelligence information, and theUnited States would sign a memorandum ofunderstanding to permit Canadian law enforcement tohave real time access to the FBI fingerprint database.Lawyers on both sides were committed to resolveissues related to the joint removal of deportees, anddeveloping counter-terrorism legislation to providenecessary authority to law enforcement withoutviolating Canadian or U.S. constitutional protectionsfor personal liberty or privacy. The U.S. TreasuryDepartment and Canada‘s Ministry of Finance werecommitted to exchange information and coordinate inthe freezing of terrorist assets. More broadly, theAction Plan exhorted agencies and departments toengage in joint training and exercises both to improvereadiness and effectiveness, and to boost citizenconfidence that the United States and Canada werecooperating fully against terrorist groups in NorthAmerica.In early 2002, White House officials took the U.S.-Canada Smart Border Action Plan to Mexico andsuggested to the government of President VicenteFox that both countries work to develop a similaragenda for joint security improvements. The U.S.-Mexico Border Partnership Action Plan wasannounced in March 2002, and included 22 pointsgrouped in three sections: Secure Infrastructure,Secure Flow of People, and Secure Flow of Goods. 11In the infrastructure section Mexico and the UnitedStates began by committing to joint long termplanning and to the development of a list of prioritybottlenecks in the current border inspection systemfor immediate attention and relief. The twogovernments agreed to work together to conductvulnerability assessments for critical infrastructureand work together to upgrade protective measures. Atborder points of entry, Mexico and the United Stateswould synchronize hours of operation, makecoordinated infrastructural improvements, andconsider ways to improve traffic flow and eliminatebackups on both sides of the border, usingdemonstration projects to observe how changes mightaffect other aspects of border security. The twofederal governments would also take the lead in reestablishingand reinforcing bilateral coordinationamong state and local authorities surrounding borderposts. Mexico also obtained a commitment from theUnited States to work to develop joint financingmechanisms to fund border infrastructureimprovements.The U.S. Mexico Action Plan followed the U.S.-Canada model more closely in its action steps relatedto the movement of people. Mexico and the UnitedStates planned to work together on travelerpreclearance, and the use of a frequent travelersystem called SENTRI that was similar to theNEXUS system that the United States and Canadaused for their border. Information on airlinepassengers would be shared in advance by the twocountries under the Action Plan, and the governmentsH U D S O N I N S T I T U T E Page 11

Negotiating North America: The Security and Prosperity Partnership Summer 2007set a goal to facilitate NAFTA business travelers withdedicated lanes at major airports. Mexico and theUnited States pledged to improve cooperation underpre-existing agreements to combat alien smuggling,and to coordinate better efforts to screen thirdcountrynationals. The two governments pledged toconsult on visa policies and to conduct joint trainingfor immigration and customs officials to better detectcriminal activity. The Action Plan signed by theUnited States and Mexico emphasized the need forpublic and private sector collaboration to beimproved in order to improve security along theshared border, particularly to secure railways anddevelop ways to secure shipments in transit. Thegovernments set in motion efforts to share inspectionand monitoring technology, such as license platereaders and electronic truck and container seals. Lawenforcement agencies in each country were taskedwith expanding their cooperation in combatingcustoms fraud and seizing contraband goods andcounterfeit products.The concrete nature of the commitments made by thegovernments in the two Action Plans, and theattention paid to progress reports and benchmarks byPresident Bush, President Fox, and Prime MinisterChrétien (and his successor Paul Martin) helped tomake the Smart Border responses to the September11 attacks both constructive and successful.However, as items on the action plans agreed torespectively by the United States and Canada and bythe United States and Mexico were accomplished, thelack of a mechanism for renewing the Action Plansby adding or refining items was a growing concernfor the governments. The Action Plan items had beenchosen in part due to the general consensus amongborder stakeholders of the necessity of changes at theborder, most of which were seen as worthwhilebefore September 11, 2001. Next steps movingbeyond the consensus items in the original ActionPlans was certain to be more difficult because theissues that remained were intrinsically more difficultand there was less general agreement among the threecountries about how to proceed.The need for new talks on security measures and forreviving stalled discussions on standards and rulesthat were preventing the emergence of a single NorthAmerican market for many products and servicespresented an opportunity for linking discussions in abroad trilateral negotiation process. Yet fewobservers anticipated that the emergence of newnegotiations on North America would be one of thefirst major international initiatives of PresidentBush‘s second term.The SPP at the Waco Summit (2005)In early 2001, some observers saw encouraging signsthat North America, and particularly Mexico, wouldrank high on the U.S. agenda. As governor of Texas,George W. Bush had taken particular interest inimproving relations with Mexico, and particularlywith neighboring Mexican states. Governor Bush‘sstewardship of Texas‘ relations with Mexico wastouted by his presidential campaign as valuableforeign policy experience. Shortly after inaugurationin January 2001, Bush‘s first foreign trip as presidentwas to Los Pinos, the residence of Mexican PresidentVicente Fox. Just days before September 11, 2001,Fox had been in Washington talking aboutregularizing migration across the U.S.-Mexico borderthrough some form of guest-worker program. Whilepresidents Bush and Fox got along personally, Fox‘sproposals for a more open U.S.-Mexico borderregime did not survive September 11, and Mexiconever received the same level of U.S. attentionafterward. 12H U D S O N I N S T I T U T E Page 12

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