Canada and the United States have the largest trading relationship in the world, with huge amounts of goods and people crossing the border each year. Since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement in 1987, no tariffs have been introduced on most goods between the two countries. In 2003, the U.S. government expressed concern about the announcement of plans to decriminalize marijuana by members of the Canadian government. David Murray, an aide to American drug czar John P. Walters, said in an interview with CBC: « We have to respond. We would have to react.  However, the election of the Conservative Party in early 2006 put an end to the liberalization of marijuana laws for the foreseeable future. As early as 1818, British and American commissioners had set the U.S.-Canada border at the 49th parallel of Lake Woods (Minnesota territory) to the west to the Rockies. The United States had proposed extending the border along the same parallel with the Pacific Ocean, but Britain insisted that the northern boundary be drawn west of the Columbia River and then follow that river to the ocean. Neither side stood out, but they agreed to postpone the decision for 10 years. In 1827, Washington and London agreed to postpone the matter indefinitely, subject to one year`s notice from one of the two parties. The case continued until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 partially boundard the northeastern border between the United States and Canada, but left the Oregon territory border restless.
On February 4, 2011, Mr. Harper and Mr. Obama issued a « Declaration on a Common Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness »  and announced the creation of the U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council of Canada (RCC) « to increase the transparency and coordination of regulators between the two countries. »  Disputes over maritime boundaries at Georges Bank and on fishing, whaling and waterproofing rights in the Pacific have been settled by international arbitration, setting an important precedent.  In 1818, a U.S.-British agreement had built the border along the 49th parallel from Wood Lake to the east to the Rockies to the west. The two nations also agreed to a joint occupation of the Oregon territory for 10 years, an agreement that was extended by 10 years in 1827. After 1838, the question of who owns Oregon became increasingly controversial, especially when mass American migration along the Oregon Trail began in the early 1840s. On December 7, 2011, Harper flew to Washington, met with Obama and signed an agreement to implement the joint action plans developed since the first meeting in February. The plans called on both countries to spend more on border infrastructure, exchange more information on people crossing the border and recognize more security controls from the other country in transport from third countries. An editorial in The Globe and Mail praised the agreement to allow Canada to track whether refugees failed to leave Canada via the United States and to eliminate « double baggage checks on connecting flights. »  The agreement is not a legally binding treaty and is based on the political will and ability of the leaders of both governments to implement the terms of the agreement.
This kind of executive agreement is routine on both sides of Canada and the United States.