July 20, 2024

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U.S. Relations With Canada – United States Department of State

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More information about Canada is available on the Canada country page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States and Canada share the world’s longest international border, 5,525 miles with 120 land ports-of-entry, and our bilateral relationship is one of the closest and most extensive. Nearly $2.6 billion a day in goods and services trade cross between us every day. The February 23, 2021, Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership highlights the depth and breadth of the relationship. It establishes a blueprint for an ambitious and whole-of-government effort against the COVID-19 pandemic and in support of our mutual prosperity. It creates a partnership on climate change, advances global health security, bolsters cooperation on defense and security, and reaffirms a shared commitment to diversity, equity, and justice. Building on our shared history and geography, our two countries work closely together on multiple levels including collaborating in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, an inclusive and robust economic recovery, the global climate challenge, border and national security, global affairs, the opioid crisis, environmental protection, and free trade.

Coordination on Fight Against the Pandemic and Building Back Better

The United States is working closely with the Canadian government and partners to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and plan for domestic and global recoveries. We coordinate regularly on shared challenges and best practices to respond to the pandemic while continuing to support the flow of commerce and critical supply chains. Both the United States and Canada have provided funding and vaccine doses to Gavi, the global vaccine alliance to support the COVAX facility. Beyond the current response, the United States and Canada have committed to urgent global action to advance health security, counter biological threats, and prevent the next pandemic. The United States and Canada are working together towards sustainable and inclusive economic recovery in a way that addresses the disproportionate impacts on women, youth, underrepresented groups, and indigenous peoples. Recognizing the opportunity to build back better, we will work through new and existing strategies and initiatives to accelerate economic recovery of small and medium-sized enterprises, collaborate on critical minerals, and strengthen supply chain security.

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) entered into force on July 1, 2020, replacing NAFTA as the free trade agreement for North America.

The USMCA generates job opportunities, improves worker protections, increases agricultural trade, produces new investments in vital manufacturing industries, protects intellectual property rights, creates enforceable labor and environmental standards, and enhances and extends digital trade protections. These are just a few of the areas covered in the USMCA, now considered the new standard for U.S. trade agreements.

The United States and Canada enjoy the world’s most comprehensive trading relationship, which supports millions of jobs in each country. Canada and the United States are each other’s largest export markets, and Canada is the number one export market for more than 30 U.S. states. In addition, Canada is the single largest foreign supplier of energy to the United States. Canada holds the world’s third largest oil reserves and is the only non-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member in the global top five. Canada and the United States operate an integrated electricity grid under jointly developed reliability standards. Uranium mined in Canada helps fuel U.S. nuclear power plants.

Bolstering Security and Defense

U.S. defense arrangements with Canada are more extensive than with any other country. The United States and Canada share North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) collective defense commitments. U.S. and Canadian military forces cooperate on continental defense within the framework of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the world’s only binational military command. The United States and Canada are working to modernize NORAD to meet modern challenges. The Permanent Joint Board on Defense provides policy-level consultation on bilateral defense matters.

The United States and Canada work in partnership at, within, and beyond our borders to enhance security and economic competitiveness, and to accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between our two countries. These efforts include collaboration along four lines of effort: addressing threats early; facilitating lawful trade and travel; enhancing law enforcement collaboration; and promoting resilience, including of critical infrastructure and cybersecurity. We encourage secure and lawful travel through trusted traveler programs including our joint NEXUS program with more than 1.8 million members. We have agreements that allow us to exchange information on visa and immigration applicants and travelers crossing our shared land border, which maintains the integrity of our immigration systems and enhances the security of both countries without causing delays at the border. We also exchange best practices and lessons learned on a wide range of topics such as managing and mitigating public health challenges and natural disasters.

Officials reestablished the Cross Border Crime Forum in 2022, furthering law enforcement cooperation to counter cybercrime, foreign interference, domestic and foreign terrorism, human trafficking and smuggling, firearms violence, as well as to increase access to justice. Extensive law enforcement collaboration includes risk assessment and analysis, incident management, operational information sharing through taskforces and joint operations such as the Shiprider Integrated Cross Border Maritime Law Enforcement program patrolling our shared waterways. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducts preclearance operations at eight airports in Canada, allowing air travelers to complete immigration, customs, and agriculture procedures before boarding their flights to the United States. The 2015 Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport Preclearance Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada, which entered into force in August 2019, provides the legal framework and reciprocal authorities necessary for each country’s preclearance officers to carry out security, facilitation, and inspection processes in the other country. It enables expansion to new airport, marine, and rail locations consistent with the terms and conditions of the Agreement, including facility requirements and cost recovery provisions, though implementation has been slowed by the pandemic. It also enables co-location of officers at small and remote Ports of Entry along our shared land border and conversion of existing ferry and cruise ship immigration pre-inspection operations to full preclearance.

The United States and Canada also collaborate with other partners in the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico in the North American Leaders’ Summit revived in 2021, and in the 2022 Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, signed by twenty countries in the region.

Bolstering Global Alliances

In the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau affirmed their shared commitment to addressing global challenges, and reiterated their firm commitment to the United Nations, G7, and G20 as well as NATO, the WTO, and the Five Eyes community. In addition to close bilateral ties, Canada and the United States cooperate in multilateral groups, including international efforts to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. The two countries belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, WTO, G7, G20, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Organization of American States, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

The United States and Canada coordinate through the High-Level Policy Review Group, which last met in November 2021 in Ottawa. The two countries launched this group in 2009 so that as close allies, Canada and the United States could coordinate actions in response to pressing global issues as well as work together on the global stage to bring peace, security, democracy, and the rule of law around the globe while rallying international support for shared goals.

As outlined in the Roadmap, the United States and Canada closely align our approaches to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including to address the challenges it presents to our collective interest and to the international rules-based order. This includes dealing with coercive and unfair economic practices, arbitrary detentions of our citizens, national security challenges, and human rights abuses, while cooperating with the PRC on areas where it is in our interest, such as climate change.

The United States and Canada, two of the eight Arctic states, work bilaterally and through the multilateral Arctic Council to address shared challenges, from combating climate change to promoting sustainable economic development. In their Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau agreed to launch an expanded U.S-Canada Arctic Dialogue. Canada welcomed President Biden’s January 2021 announcement of a temporary moratorium on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In February 2021, the leaders agreed to help safeguard the calving ground of the Porcupine caribou herd, which migrates across our shared border and is invaluable to the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit peoples’ culture and subsistence.

Climate and Energy

In their Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau committed to strengthen implementation of the Paris Agreement to increase the scale and speed of action to address the climate crisis. To keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach, the United States and Canada work across sectors to increase innovation and deployment of technologies to reduce emissions. We also cooperate to deepen understanding of and enhance resilience to shared climate impacts. In addition to close bilateral collaboration, Canada and the United States cooperate in multilateral groups to raise global climate ambition.

The United States and Canada have highly integrated electricity networks, with bilateral trade of $2.3 billion (USD) carried by over 30 major cross-border transmission lines. Canada is a major power provider to the U.S. northeast and enjoys a $1.4 billion (USD) surplus in electricity trade. The two countries partner through the North American Electric Reliability Corporation that ensures the safety, security (physical and cyber) and reliability of our shared electricity grid. Import of Canadian hydroelectricity and hydrogen storage have received renewed attention as a means of transitioning to renewable energy, including as base load power for solar and wind power projects.

Opioid Crisis

Canada and the United States have committed to a bilateral initiative to address the significant amount of opioid addictions and opioid-related deaths. A joint action plan, launched in January 2020, helps in combating the trafficking of opioids through law enforcement and border security cooperation, as well as responding to the health consequences of problematic opioid use. In addition to our joint work, the United States and Canada also participate in addressing opioid concerns through the G7 and the North American Drug Dialogue.

Transboundary Environmental and Natural Resource Issues

The United States and Canada cooperate closely to resolve and manage transboundary environmental and water issues. A principal instrument of this cooperation is the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, which established the International Joint Commission. The United States and Canada have hundreds of environmental and natural resource partnerships at the local, state, provincial, and federal levels. These include the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to protect water quality and ecosystem health and the Columbia River Treaty regime. The United States and Canada developed the Columbia River Treaty regime to regulate the flow of the Columbia River to benefit both countries. The United States and Canada began negotiations in 2018 to modernize the treaty regime. Additionally, since 1991 the United States and Canada have had a bilateral Air Quality Agreement to address transboundary air pollution and as a framework for scientific, technical, and regulatory cooperation on air pollution-related issues. The United States and Canada have worked to support transboundary movement of hazardous waste, municipal solid waste and non-hazardous waste and scrap for environmentally sound management through the use of a bilateral agreement and arrangement. These provide both countries with environmentally sound and cost-effective options for managing waste that may not otherwise be available. The United States and Canada are each other’s biggest seafood export markets and share a number of important marine and freshwater fish stocks. The two countries cooperate to manage these resources sustainably through several bilateral fisheries agreements, including treaty-based regimes for Pacific halibut, Pacific salmon, and fisheries in the Great Lakes, as well as through multilateral fisheries management bodies and other international high seas governance initiatives.

Critical Minerals

Canada is a major supplier to the United States of many critical minerals and has the potential to become a major supplier of more. The United States and Canada cooperate on efforts to support a more secure supply chain for critical minerals through a bilateral working group and joint Action Plan. In their Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau agreed to strengthen the joint Action Plan to target a net-zero industrial transformation, batteries for zero-emissions vehicles, and renewable energy storage. Canada is a founding partner of the Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI), a multinational approach to best practices for handling the key energy minerals necessary for the impending global energy transformation. The ERGI toolkit addresses mineral resource management, project development, production, and stewardship. It is available at ERGI.tools, as a collaborative resource for all mining stakeholders. The United States joined the Canada-founded Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) in 2021 as a partner to work on promoting environmental, social, and governance standards in the mining sector. In June 2022, Canada, the United States, and other partner countries established the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), a new multilateral initiative that aims to diversify and secure critical mineral supply chains by catalyzing private and public investment in strategic mining, processing, and recycling opportunities that adhere to high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards.

Educational and Youth Exchange

The United States and Canada share in their support of the Fulbright Program with Canada. The Fulbright Program is a reciprocal academic exchange that provides opportunities for outstanding American and Canadian students, scholars, and independent researchers to study, lecture, and/or conduct research in the other country. In 2015, the Fulbright Arctic Initiative was launched to support scholars, researchers, and professionals from Arctic Council member countries to carry out collaborative research on public policy questions related to the unique challenges of the Arctic region. Canada participates in the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which seeks to increase student mobility between the United States and the countries of the Western Hemisphere. There are three EducationUSA advising centers in Canada, providing free information to Canadian students about study opportunities in the United States. In academic year 2020/2021 Canada was the fourth largest source of foreign students in the United States, with more than 25,000 Canadian students at U.S. higher education institutions. The United States is the sixth largest source of foreign students in Canada with approximately 15,000 students.

Canada also participates in the Youth Ambassadors (YA) Program, a three-week exchange program focused on leadership development, civic engagement, and community service. From 2013 to 2019, at least 13 high school students and two adult mentors from Canada traveled to the United States each year in the YA program. Due to the pandemic, the program pivoted to virtual programming for 2020-21; the program will resume in person with international travel in July 2022. Canada also participates in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellowship Program, which empowers emerging entrepreneurs from the Western Hemisphere to enable the full economic potential of the region’s citizens. In 2022, a total of seven Canadian fellows will participate in the YLAI Fellowship Program which includes entrepreneurial leadership curriculum, a four-week professional placement, and a closing forum in Washington D.C. The American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) in partnership with Canada 2020 will conduct a two-way exchange for eight Canadian and eight American delegates who are elected officials or professionals working in politics in 2022 and 2023. Robust cultural exchanges between the United States and Canada this year have brought Alaskan artists to the Yukon, bridging the connection between these neighboring communities; helping promote diversity through the participation of American musicians in Asian heritage celebrations in Canada; and facilitating knowledge exchange between Black history museum communities in the United States and Canada.

Canada’s Membership in International Organizations

In addition to close bilateral ties, Canada and the United States cooperate in multilateral fora, including international efforts to combat terrorist financing and money laundering. The two countries belong to several of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, WTO, G7, G20, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Organization of American States, and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Bilateral Representation

Principal U.S. embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List. The United States maintains an embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.

Canada maintains an embassy  in the United States at 501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (tel.202-682-1740).

More information about Canada is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

CIA World Factbook Canada Page 
U.S. Embassy
History of U.S. Relations With Canada
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page 
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics 
Export.gov International Offices Page 
Travel Information
Trilateral Agreement with United States, Canada, and Mexico to Expand Trusted Traveler Programs 


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