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U.S. and Canada Launch “Joint Forward Plan” to Cut Red Tape

Posted September 03, 2014

Late last week, the Obama administration and the Harper Government jointly released the terms of a new cross-border regulatory partnership between the U.S. and Canada aimed at reducing the cost of doing business with each other.
The U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Forward Plan is a set of agreements to streamline rules in some areas, reduce duplicative requirements and allow regulators to share information. “This kind of international cooperation on regulations between the United States and Canada will help eliminate barriers to doing business in the United States or with U.S. companies, grow the economy, and create jobs,” said Howard Shelanski, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

In a release from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Shelanski called the accord “a significant pivot point” in cooperative efforts between the two governments that would institutionalize the way regulators can work together. A release from the Prime Minister’s Office said the plan “sets the stage for fundamental changes in the way regulatory departments and agencies in both countries work together, making it easier for businesses to operate in both countries.”

The goal is to have bilateral regulatory cooperation across a broad range of issues, entrenched within the regular planning and operational activities of regulatory agencies in both countries. Areas of focus, among others, will include the following: Food safety; Pharmaceutical and Biological Products; Plant and Animal Health; Aviation Regulations; Marine Safety and Security; Energy Efficiency Standards; Transportation of Dangerous Goods; Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Chemicals Management; Crop protection products; Medical Devices; and Toy Safety.

In the upcoming three months, the RCC will hold a conference in Washington D.C. to obtain stakeholder and government agency input. The RCC indicates it will regularly provide status and implementation updates to the public.