September 2, 2014

Moving Forward on International Regulatory Cooperation

From: OMB

Posted by Howard Shelanski

As part of President Obama’s effort to achieve smarter and more effective approaches to international regulation, today I am pleased to announce the release of the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Forward Plan. The Forward Plan represents a significant pivot point for our regulatory cooperation relationships with Canada, and outlines new federal agency-level partnership arrangements to help institutionalize the way our regulators work together. 

The Forward Plan will remove duplicative requirements, develop common standards, and identify potential areas where future regulation may unnecessarily differ. This kind of international cooperation on regulations between the United States and Canada will help eliminate barriers to doing business in the United States or with U.S. companies, grow the economy, and create jobs.

Regulatory cooperation has to mean more than just “aligning” specific rules across the border; such a rule-by-rule approach is neither practical nor scalable enough to meet our ever-changing regulatory environments. We need to think more broadly and creatively on how to build cooperative frameworks to achieve our economic and regulatory policy goals in a more dynamic manner.

That is why the Forward Plan identifies 24 areas of cooperation that the United States and Canada will work together to implement over the next three to five years in order to modernize our thinking around international regulatory cooperation and develop a toolbox of strategies to address international regulatory issues as they arise. 

Over the next six months, we will produce joint work plans that will lay out steps toward important goals like aligning U.S. and Canadian energy efficiency standards, potentially avoiding millions of dollars in unnecessary costs, and promoting cooperation and information sharing, such as in environmental management of the aquaculture sector.

The Forward Plan will focus on three components:

  • Department-Level Regulatory Partnerships: Outline RCC strategies and the framework for how the activities will be managed between regulatory partners.
  • Department-to-Department Commitments and Work Plans: A set of commitments to cooperate in specific areas of regulatory activity, for which technical work plans will be developed.
  • Cross-Cutting Issues: Identifying current laws, policies, and practices in both governments that can present challenges/opportunities to international regulatory cooperation, regardless of sector, and considering new tools and approaches to support regulators in achieving their cooperation objectives where possible.

The Forward Plan advances the objectives that President Obama set forth in his 2011 “Executive Order on Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation” (EO 13609). The United States is very proud of the collaborative efforts between agencies and stakeholders in implementing the initial RCC Joint Action Plan, and we look forward to continuing active stakeholder participation to realize the Forward Plan announced today. Working together with our Canadian partners can make government regulations smarter, doing business easier, and consumers safer.

To learn more, please visit

Howard Shelanski is the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget.


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