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U.S., Canada Plan Rules for Most-Traded Products, Jacobson Says

The U.S. and Canada plan to harmonize regulations governing the most heavily traded products as part of negotiations on a shared security and economic “perimeter,” U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson said.

The two countries will release more details over the next several weeks on the “first tranche” of industries where conflicting regulations will be harmonized, Jacobson said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg News today. He didn’t elaborate on specific industries.

“It’s fair to say that we want to focus on areas where there is more trade, because the more trade that we focus on, the more jobs that we’re going to create in this process,” Jacobson said.

The effort will focus on streamlining “dumb” regulations that are “different because they’re different,” said Jacobson, 59, who took office as ambassador in October 2009.

The two countries have the world’s largest two-way trading relationship, reaching almost C$600 billion ($613 billion) in 2009. Canada’s main merchandise exports to the U.S. are mineral fuels such as oil, motor vehicles and machinery, while the biggest exports by the U.S. to Canada are motor vehicles, machinery and electrical and electronic equipment.

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged Feb. 4 to develop a shared security perimeter to protect against threats such as terrorism and accelerate the “legitimate” cross-border flow of people, goods and services. Jacobson said the countries will soon release an “action plan” that provides more details on the measures to be implemented.

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