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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Deal Struck on Next-Gen CanAm Border Security Pact

‘Proof will be in the pudding’ says CTA

There are reports that Canada and the U.S. have reached an agreement on a much-ballyhooed perimeter security program.

While neither country has yet to formally announce a deal, Canadian Press reports that the $1billion so-called Beyond the Border action plan includes dozens of items that the governments of both countries plan to pursue in order to beef up security while attempting to improve the flow of goods across the border.

Details are sketchy but the program is said to include a “one-stop shopping” window for importers and transport providers who currently have to deal with up to half a dozen government agencies, each with their own­ — sometimes redundant – rules and regulations. Some new initiatives reportedly place more emphasis on frequent-traveller and trusted-shipper programs.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has been working with Canadian negotiators throughout the process. Alliance CEO David Bradley said he’ll reserve judgment until after he sees the full agreement, which is scheduled to be released later this month.

“We had modest expectations from the outset having been through these sorts of exercises before and been disappointed in the results,” he said. “The proof will be in the pudding.”

CTA’s wish list included harmonization of the treatment of in-transit shipments, flexibility in the repositioning of foreign empty trailers and mutual recognition of PIP and C-TPAT. “In the scheme of things, these are not major initiatives, but they would have a tangible impact on cross-border transportation and in combination would definitely move the yardsticks,” Bradley said.

It remains to be seen which, if any, of those suggestions will be part of Beyond the Border, which is said to build upon the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration announced in 2001.

According to the CP report, sources with knowledge of the latest agreement say it’s “more evolutionary than revolutionary,” arguably falling short of the vision outlined by PM Stephen Harper and President Obama earlier this year.