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Canada’s Harper, Obama to Discuss New Border Measures

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet in Washington Dec. 7 to announce new measures to enhance security and trade between the two countries.

Obama and Harper pledged in February to work toward a shared security “perimeter,” aimed at protecting against threats such as terrorism and accelerating the cross-border flow of people, goods and services. The two leaders will announce details of the plan next week, an official familiar with the matter said.

“The deal is going to provide some good details around how they plan to move forward on a lot of key areas,” Matt Wilson, vice-president of policy at the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, an Ottawa-based lobby group, said in a telephone interview.

The agreement will generate “a huge return for the Canadian economy,” Wilson said. Border regulations cost Canadian businesses as much C$15 billion ($14.7 billion) annually, he said.

The measures may include harmonizing regulations in food and automobile manufacturing, aligning inspections and security clearance procedures, reducing data requirements for goods crossing the border, investing in new technology to reduce documentation requirements and steps to facilitate movement of workers, Wilson said.

“There’s a very high likelihood you’ll see all those things in there,” Wilson said.

The two countries plan to align regulations governing the most-heavily traded products, U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson said in an Aug. 30 interview.

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