Report on Beyond The Border Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan: AGM Joint Assessment
The "Beyond The Border Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan" (PDF - 3.26 mb) was established to support enhanced long-term Canada-United States (U.S.) partnership built upon a perimeter approach to security and economic competitiveness. The plan identified joint priorities for achieving goals outlined in the Beyond the Border Declaration, and the United States and Canada share responsibility to support, develop, implement, manage, and monitor the initiatives undertaken to reach the goals. One specific priority is to address offshore threats before they arrive in Canada or the United States through risk management, joint measures, and technology.
To help protect the United States and Canada from risks to food safety or animal and plant health that could originate in third countries, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) were tasked with developing assessment processes and joint site-visit plans for commodities of common interest from other countries and addressing how to incorporate the findings of these site-visits into risk-management decisions. The two agencies were also tasked with development of a mechanism to share the results of assessments when conducted separately.
The AGM (Lymantria albescens, Lymantria umbrosa, Lymantria postalba, Lymantria dispar japonica and Lymantria dispar asiatica) program was adopted as a pilot project for the Beyond the Border (BtB) initiative. AGM is a pest prevalent in Asia that could cause significant damage to the forestry, agriculture and environmental sectors if it establishes in North America. Vessels arriving at Canadian or U.S. ports from AGM infested countries are often found with AGM egg masses. Under the BtB initiative, the CFIA and USDA-APHIS have agreed to a common approach to management of the risk at origin by development of pre-departure vessel certification programs with the country of origin. The United States and Canada recognize the tri-lateral approach and certification as a key measure in preventing AGM introduction into North America.
Task team members have studied and validated the joint assessment process used by the CFIA and APHIS in the tri-lateral approach for AGM issues involving regulated countries and affected stakeholders. The project included a review of how APHIS and the CFIA conduct joint assessment and coordination of responses to outstanding non-compliance issues with regulated countries and with domestic stakeholders. One of the key outcomes of the pilot project was identification of non-harmonized policies, procedures, or technical issues between the U.S. and Canadian AGM programs and mechanisms to address these differences are being considered. CFIA and APHIS continue to communicate, both formally and informally, to consider suggestions for improvements and improve the efficiency of the program.
This report summarizes the experience with joint assessments for the AGM risk mitigation systems in regulated countries. The report also discusses lessons learned for the development of best practices regarding conducting joint assessments and audits to address other offshore plant and animal health risks. The study highlights the benefit of establishing and fostering strong, collaborative relationships between our two countries. Increased information sharing and a close relationship have strengthened our ability to enhance the AGM pre-departure certification program and serves as a model for similar studies and initiatives.
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