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Monday, September 11, 2006

Everything is beautiful in its own way 

From the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.

08 September 2006

Progress on North American Security and Prosperity Assessed
Report notes gains on security, health issues, economic initiatives

By Scott Miller
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington – The governments of the United States, Canada and Mexico are making measurable progress in enhancing the security and prosperity of North America, according to the second Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) Report to Leaders.

The leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico launched the SPP in March 2005 with the goal of enhancing security, economic growth, competitiveness, and the quality of life of the citizens of the region.

The new report and a list of achievements was released September 7 and follows a March 2006 SPP Summit in Cancun, Mexico. The North American leaders received the SPP’s first report on trilateral efforts to enhance regional security and prosperity in June 2005. (See related article.)

The second SPP Report to Leaders said that security-related progress made to date includes “strengthened relationships in the areas of preparedness, law enforcement, and the screening of travelers and cargo.” (See related article.)

The report adds that the three countries have shortened processing times at border crossings while maintaining tight security, are making progress to standardize fingerprint-based biometric technology, and are conducting trials and reviewing the compatibility of their biometric traveler systems.

Other achievements include the creation of an Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza Coordinating Body and the launch of the North American Competitiveness Council (NACC), the latter of which will provide North America’s private sector with a voice and a formal role in enhancing regional competitiveness in the global economy. (See related article.)

The NACC first met in Washington in August 2006 to define priorities and discuss specific recommendations to be submitted to the SPP by September 15. (See related article.)

The second SSP Report to Leaders notes that North American government officials overseeing the SPP will review the business leaders’ recommendations prior to the next SPP Summit in Canada in 2007, and that they anticipate meaningful and productive discussions with the private sector.

“We are confident that the NACC’s involvement and its commitment to be part of the solution to the challenges we face as a region will contribute to make North America the best and most secure place to do business,” the report said.

North American leaders also are finding their work together on the SPP has forged closer ties between the North American nations.

“By addressing common security and prosperity issues through this process, officials in all three countries have enhanced existing relationships, created new ones, and have strengthened the foundations for ongoing cooperation among our countries,” the report pointed out.

For additional information, see Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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