Friday, February 20, 2009

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper Vow Joint Effort on North American Economic Recovery

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday agreed the United States and Canada will pursue economic recovery measures and efforts to strengthen the international financial system to counter the global economic recession.

"I value our strategic partnership with Canada and look forward to working closely with the Prime Minister to address the global economic recession and create jobs, to protect our environment through promoting clean energy technologies, and achieve our shared goals in responding to international security challenges." said the President.

"The President and I agree that both our countries must take immediate action to restore economic growth by lowering taxes, ensuring access to credit and unleashing spending that stimulates economic growth. We also agreed to strengthen our cooperation in the areas of environmental protection and global security," said the Prime Minister.

Restoring Economic Growth and Restoring Jobs

The Prime Minister and the President discussed their respective economic recovery and their focus on saving and creating jobs. In addition, the President and the Prime Minister discussed common challenges they face, including restructuring of the North American auto sector.

They also discussed working together to develop effective global responses to the economic crisis, through the G-8 and G-20 processes. The United States and Canada will actively work together to ensure that the G-20 Summit in April contributes to restoring confidence in financial markets.

Finally, they instructed senior officials to meet at an early date to develop strategies to enhance our collective security in North America, including reviewing the management of the Canada-U.S. border.

Tackling Climate Change and Energy Security

Noting the long and productive history of bilateral co-operation on continental environmental protection and energy trade and technology, the President and the Prime Minister agreed that environmental protection and the development of clean energy are inextricably linked and announced plans to work together to build a new energy economy as a key element of broader economic recovery and reinvestment efforts.

The Leaders discussed practical ways the United States and Canada could encourage the development of clean energy technologies to reduce greenhouse gases and combat climate change. The Leaders established a senior-level U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue that will cooperate on several critical energy science and technology issues, including:

Expand clean energy research and development
Develop and deploy clean energy technology
Build a more efficient electric grid based on clean and renewable generation
United States and Canadian officials will meet in the coming weeks to launch the clean energy dialogue.

Responding to International Security Challenges

The President and the Prime Minister agreed on the importance of Canada and the United States cooperating closely on a number of key international priorities for both countries, with a particular focus on Afghanistan which is a top priority for both countries and which will be a major subject of attention at the upcoming NATO Summit. The Leaders also agreed to work together closely in the Americas, including promoting effective discussion and meaningful results at the Summit of the Americas in April.

Our Foreign Ministers will meet in Washington next week, and Ministers of Defence the following week, to pursue a strengthened dialogue on these and other key international challenges.

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