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Canada-United States relations

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Bilateral relations

Canada and the United States (U.S.) enjoy a unique relationship. The Canada-U.S. partnership is forged by shared geography, similar values, common interests, deep personal connections and powerful, multi-layered economic ties. Our two countries share a deep and longstanding defence and national security partnership, providing both countries with greater security than could be achieved individually. Trade and investment between Canada and the U.S. supports millions of jobs. A secure and efficient flow of goods and people across the border is vital to both countries’ economic competitiveness and prosperity.

Canada and the U.S. work together on key issues, including border management, foreign policy and security cooperation, bilateral trade and the ongoing implementation of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA1), environmental protection, and energy security. We are also committed to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, including by working in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

In February 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau and U.S. President Biden launched the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, which lays out an ambitious framework to build a greener, more prosperous future; grow our economies and strengthen the middle class; combat the global COVID-19 pandemic; create safer, more equitable communities; and stand together in the face of threats to democracy. Defending democracy is at the heart of our commitment to stand with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression.  

Canada has an embassy in Washington, D.C., consulates general in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, 3 trade offices, and 14 Honorary Consuls. The United States maintains an embassy in Ottawa and consulates general across Canada.

Border and COVID-19 cooperation

Canada and the U.S. share a land border close to 9,000 km long, which is the longest border in the world. The two countries cooperate closely to manage the secure and efficient flow of goods and people across the border that is vital to both countries’ economic competitiveness and prosperity. This collaboration was exemplified in our mutual agreement to close the border to all non-essential travel on March 18, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both countries cooperated closely to coordinate their border measures and have since reopened to fully vaccinated travellers.

It is estimated that around 400,000 people crossed the Canada-United States border every day (pre-pandemic) and that there are about 800,000 Canadian citizens living in the United States. There are many Canadian First Nations residents and U.S. Native American Tribes whose culture spans the border.

Security and defence cooperation

Canada and the United States are key allies and defence partners, and we collaborate closely to address foreign policy crises and to defend shared values abroad. Our mutual objectives of continental defence and of global peace and security have led to close cooperation and integration of defence and national security agencies. Our bilateral defence and national security relationship spans the full spectrum of cooperation, from shared defence of the continent to combined operations, exercises, and training around the globe; commitments to collective objectives through the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the Five-Eyes; intelligence sharing; defence materiel cooperation, and strong relationships between law enforcement agencies.

Canada and the U.S. cooperate closely in security operations around the world, including in Europe through NATO and to build the capacity of the Ukrainian security forces; across the Middle East through the U.S.-led Global Coalition to defeat Da’esh; maintaining a maritime presence and upholding sanctions in the Asia-Pacific region; and illicit trafficking operations in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean.

Trade

Canada and the U.S. share one of the largest trading relationships in the world, with over $1 trillion in bilateral trade in goods and services in 2021. That year, Canada was the largest U.S. trading partner in goods and services. Canada-U.S. trade is built on long-standing binational supply chains, whereby roughly 79% of Canadian goods exports to the U.S. are incorporated into U.S. supply chains.

In the trade relationship, Canada’s efforts are focused on ensuring the effective implementation of the CUSMA, strengthening supply chain resiliency, and resolving bilateral irritants. Canada is also seeking to establish enhanced collaboration with the U.S. to address global trade challenges.

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Shared environment

The Canada-U.S. border includes four of the five Great Lakes, many transboundary rivers and lakes, major airsheds, and migratory routes for wildlife species. The two countries have a long history of close cooperation and negotiation on environmental issues due to their integrated economy and common ecosystems. For example, Canada and the U.S. are currently negotiating to modernize the Columbia River Treaty.

Canada and the U.S. have committed to achieving ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Through the Canada-U.S. High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Ambition, launched in February 2021, the two countries are working on cooperative action to achieve our common objective of net-zero emissions by 2050, aligning policy solutions and regulatory approaches, and building resilience to climate impacts.

Energy infrastructure

Canada and the U.S. are each other’s top sources of imported energy. The highly integrated nature of our energy systems, where events on one side of the border have impacts on both sides, means it is more important than ever to ensure a secure, reliable, and sustainable supply of energy resources for North America and beyond. The impact of the Ukraine crisis on energy supply and demand further reinforces the importance of Canada-U.S. energy trade and expanding cross-border energy infrastructure.

Canada and the U.S. are committed to working together to encourage the development of cross-border clean electricity transmission, as part of the fight against climate change. Clean energy imports from Canada, including hydroelectricity, can help the U.S. achieve its climate goals.

Promoting fair and just societies

Canada and the U.S share a commitment to addressing systemic racism, unconscious bias, gender-based discrimination, barriers for persons with disabilities, and all other forms of discrimination and exclusion.

Partnerships and organizations

Global challenges require global solutions, and Canada-U.S. cooperation has never been more important to ensure that multilateral institutions address today’s realities.

Together, we are advocating for reform and modernization in important international institutions such as the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the World Trade Organization.

Canada and the United States work closely in multilateral fora, such as:

 

[1] CUSMA is referred to as USMCA in the U.S.

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