Alliance Hopes Any Announcement Contains Benefits for Trusted Trading Partner
OTTAWA – Media reports that Canada is negotiating a perimeter security agreement with the United States comes as no surprise to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), as CTA has been involved in discussions on this subject since 9/11. It is a policy option not without its merits, and CTA is clearly interested in receiving further details from the federal government. Historically, CTA has had concerns that discussions about perimeter strategies would shift attention from more pressing issues that impact the flow of goods by truck across the Canada – United States border. However, based on recent meetings and discussions with government officials there appears to be more hope that some version of a perimeter option may provide relief to the legitimate supply chain.
Supporters of the perimeter strategy see it as a better way to deal with external security concerns by allocating additional security resources either off shore or at the first point of arrival in North America. The argument is that this would allow for strategic allocation of resources where they are most needed while at the same time permitting the development of a more streamlined land border clearance system for low-risk travellers and goods.
“CTA has supported in theory the perimeter strategy. The historical concern for the Alliance has been that a perimeter strategy implies harmonized laws and regulations as well as the outright—at least in some scenarios—elimination of the Canada-U.S. border,” said CTA Vice President of Customs Jennifer Fox. “Since 9/11 a number of programs have been put in place at the Canada-US border to identify low risk goods, carriers and drivers and we encourage alignment between the Canadian and U.S. border programs. Given that the development and implementation investments made by governments and the supply chain amount to billions of dollars, we don’t envision such programs disappearing over the short to medium term. As such CTA would like to see in any upcoming announcement regarding a perimeter strategy consideration of extended benefits for existing trade security participants,” added Fox.
CTA would like to work with governments in any future discussion involving perimeter security concepts. CTA has been actively engaged in consultations with both US Customs Border Protection and Canadian Border Services Agency regarding border initiatives since before 9/11. Although progress has been made CTA would encourage governments on both sides of the border to continue to work with the trucking industry in resolving “low hanging fruit” issues that can provide immediate benefit to low risk commerce moving across the border.