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Economic Section
 

The Economic Section promotes United States policies and enhances the United States' relationship with Canada in economic, environmental and scientific affairs.

The U.S. Commercial Service deals with commercial matters involving individual firms and the Foreign Agricultural Service is the primary point of contact on agricultural matters. The Consular Section deals with an individual's ability to enter or work in the United States.

Trade and Economy

Canada and the United States share the world's largest trading relationship -- an economic relationship that is the envy of the world. Each is the foremost economic partner and largest export market for the other. Approximately US$1.9 billion in goods and services are traded across the border each day. The two countries also cooperate closely in a variety of international economic organizations. The Economic Section monitors this important $1.2 trillion trade and investment relationship, and works to resolve economic and trade policy differences. We actively support a host of "shared border" initiatives to facilitate trade and improve law enforcement cooperation along our very open, very busy 5,500 mile land border.

Each Canadian province trades more with the United States than with other provinces. The relationship is important to the American states as well; Canada is the leading export market for 35 of the 50 U.S. States. Our economies are also extremely integrated. Because of integrated, cross-border production and supply chains, the United States and Canada launched the Beyond the Border Action Plan and Regulatory Cooperation Council. Together we also jointly certify trusted travelers and traders through a variety of programs.

Energy, Environment, Science, Technology and Health

Canada is the single largest foreign supplier of oil, gas, electricity and uranium to the United States and we share an inter-connected energy infrastructure that encompasses oil and gas pipelines and electricity transmission lines. We also manage this unparalleled energy relationship. We also establish and oversee bilateral cooperation on shared global environmental objectives, such as addressing climate change. We promote U.S.-Canadian cooperation on regional environmental issues through the NAFTA Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC) and the Arctic Council. Our objective is continental environmental cooperation.

EESTH seeks to resolve transboundary environmental and fisheries disputes through bilateral mechanisms, including the U.S.-Canada Air Quality Agreement, the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC), the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and the International Joint Commission (IJC). We work with Canada to promote sound conservation and fisheries management practices through multilateral fora including the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) and the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

We promote scientific cooperation and collaboration between U.S. and Canadian government agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The United States and Canada also collaborate to enhance public health protection. The EESTH Section acts as a liaison between U.S. and Canadian health agencies.

Softwood Lumber

More than 7 million Americans are employed in the housing and construction industry, and Canada supplies about one-third of the U.S. softwood lumber supply. In order to regularize this bilateral softwood trade, a rules-based framework was laid out in the Softwood Lumber Agreements of 1996 (expired in 2001) and 2006. The 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) establishes a dispute settlement mechanism which allows that either country may initiate dispute settlement of matters arising under the SLA. While the Agreements have not eliminated softwood lumber disputes completely, they has put in place structured guidelines to help settle these disputes. For more information, see ustr.gov/trade-topics/.

NAFTA

Over the eighteen years since implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), trade between Canada and the United States has more than doubled. NAFTA created the world's largest free trade area, which now links 444.1 million people producing $17 trillion (U.S) worth of goods and services. The trilateral agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico entered into force in January 1994, expanding the bilateral Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (implemented in 1989). For more information on NAFTA visit NAFTAnow.org.

The vast majority of U.S.-Canada trade occurs seamlessly and without need for government intervention. The rest are areas of dispute between the governments and citizens of the two countries. If these disputes cannot be settled through bilateral negotiations then there is recourse though both the NAFTA and the WTO to deal with complaints by governments, businesses and investors. When disputes occur, NAFTA directs those concerned to try to resolve their differences first through consultation. If no mutually acceptable solution is found, NAFTA provides for specific formal mechanisms. For example, Chapter 11 of the NAFTA provides a process to deal with complaints of investors who feel they have been treated unfairly by NAFTA Member states. For more information on the status of Chapter 11 investor-state arbitration, please see www.state.gov/s/l/c3439.htm.

 

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