Accelerated efforts to improve the flow of people and goods across Washington’s border with Canada will boost the economies of both Canada and the United States and reap considerable benefits for Washington, Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, said today.
Kastama’s Senate Joint Memorial 8016, passed today on a 46-1 vote by the Senate, commits Washington to participate and follow through on the Border Action Plan on Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness and the Action Plan on Regulatory Cooperation. The plans were developed by the Beyond the Border working group on federal representatives from both countries.
“Today is an historic day between Washington and our neighbors to the north,” Kastama said immediately prior to the Senate’s vote. “This will accelerate the flow of goods between our state and Canada and boost both economies.”
Kastama, chair of the Senate Economic Development, Trade & Innovation Committee, said the impetus for the plan grew out of a conference on innovation he attended last year in Ottawa. “They chose Washington state because we have an historic bond,” Kastama said. “Our state will pioneer this effort by increasing our two-way cooperation with Canada.”
Under the plan, Washington and Canada will work together to enhance security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services by addressing threats early; by facilitating trade, economic growth and employment; by enforcing cross-border laws; and by maintaining critical infrastructure and security.
SJM 8016 was endorsed on the Senate floor by Gov. Chris Gregoire and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.
“This will reduce barriers to trade, lower costs for consumers and businesses, and create economic opportunities on both sides of the border,” Kastama said. “This plan will let us align both countries’ regulatory approaches in agriculture, food, transportation, health and personal care products, chemical management, the environment and other areas without compromising our health or safety.”