Security and Prosperity Partnership
The North American Union was jumpstarted in March 2005 with a meeting between President Bush, Prime Minister Harper and President Fox, "a trilateral effort to increase security and enhance prosperity among the United States, Canada and Mexico through greater cooperation and information sharing." The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) has consisted of meetings between the three leaders, which receive little media attention and conclude with vague joint statements about cooperation between the nations.1
While fairly vague, some of the SPP's goals were alarming. They discuss border crossing corridors, security technologies, and free trade agreements. Think about the language used here and what implications it has for privacy, American jobs, and American sovereignty.
- "Identify, develop, and deploy new technologies to advance our shared security goals and promote the legitimate flow of people and goods across our borders." will be discussed further in this article.2
- Improve the safety and efficiency of North America's transportation system by expanding market access, facilitating multimodal corridors, reducing congestion, and alleviating bottlenecks at the border that inhibit growth and threaten our quality of life (e.g., expand air services agreements, increase airspace capacity, initiate an Aviation Safety Agreement process, pursue smart border information technology initiatives, ensure compatibility of regulations and standards in areas such as statistics, motor carrier and rail safety, and working with responsible jurisdictions, develop mechanisms for enhanced road infrastructure planning, including an inventory of border transportation infrastructure in major corridors and public-private financing instruments for border projects).3
- Lower the transaction costs of trade in goods by liberalizing the requirements for obtaining duty-free treatment under NAFTA, including through the reduction of "rules of origin" costs on goods traded between our countries. Each country should have in place procedures to allow speedy implementation of rules of origin modifications.3
- Collaborate to establish risk-based screening standards for goods and people that rely on technology, information sharing and biometrics.4
- North American Smart, Secure Borders. Our vision is to have a border strategy that results in the fast, efficient and secure movement of low-risk trade and travelers to and within North America, while protecting us from threats including terrorism. In implementing this strategy, we will encourage innovative risk-based approaches to improving security and facilitating trade and travel. These include close coordination on infrastructure investments and vulnerability assessments, screening and processing of travelers, baggage and cargo, a single integrated assessments, screening and processing of travelers, baggage and cargo, a single integrated North American trusted traveler program, and swift law enforcement responses to threats posed by criminals or terrorists, including advancing a trilateral network for the protection of judges and officers.5
In an article attempting to discredit its critics, the Security and Prosperity Partnership claims,
The U.S. government is not planning a NAFTA Super Highway. The U.S. government does not have the authority to designate any highway as a NAFTA Super Highway, nor has it sought such authority, nor is it planning to seek such authority. There are private and state level interests planning highway projects which they themselves describe as "NAFTA Corridors," but these are not Federally-driven initiatives, and they are not a part of the SPP.6
However, the efforts of groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations and North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition to create an international transportation system are the precise actions carrying out the SPP's goals. They use the same techniques and language which the SPP put together.
- Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, http://www.spp.gov/ (accessed 05/16/2007).
- Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, "Security Agenda", March 23, 2005, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/03/20050323-3.html (accessed 05/16/2007).
- Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, "Prosperity Agenda", March 23, 2005, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/03/20050323-1.html (accessed 05/16/2007).
- Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, "Next Steps", March 31, 2006, p. 2, http://www.spp.gov/pdf/
security_and_prosperity_partnership_of_north_america_fact_sheet.pdf (accessed 05/16/2007).
- Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, "Progress", March 31, 2006, p. 2, http://www.spp.gov/pdf/
security_and_prosperity_partnership_of_north_america_statement.pdf (accessed 05/16/2007).
- Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, "SPP Myths vs. Facts", http://www.spp.gov/myths_vs_facts.asp (accessed 05/16/2007).