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Patricia Davidson, Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton, on behalf of Canada's Public Safety Minister, the Honourable Vic Toews, today announced that Canada is delivering on a key Beyond the Border Action Plan (Action Plan) commitment to reduce border delays for trusted traders.
Through the Action Plan, Canada and the U.S. are working to enhance the benefits of their trusted trader programs that help members move goods efficiently and securely across the border. As a result, Canada launched a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) expansion pilot at the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ontario to allow Partners in Protection (PIP) and Customs Self Assessment (CSA) trusted traders to use the FAST lanes/booths without having to be members of both programs, which is the current requirement. This six-month pilot will align Canada's eligibility requirements with those of the U.S. If successful, changes may be permanently implemented at all three ports where FAST is currently available.
"With $1.9 billion worth of goods and services crossing our shared border every day, we have a vested interest in reducing barriers to trade," said MP Davidson. "The pilot aims to further reduce border wait times for trusted traders thereby strengthening the security and economy of both nations."
"CTA is pleased to work in partnership with the CBSA in our efforts to improve the efficiency of cross-border trade," said Canadian Trucking Alliance President and CEO David Bradley. "The trucking industry has long supported these changes to the FAST program and looks forward to continuing to work with the CBSA to improve benefits for Trusted Traders."
This FAST pilot is an important step in continuing to manage risk at the border by facilitating the lawful flow of pre-approved, low-risk traders, enabling officers to focus their efforts on unknown or higher-risk goods. Expedited passage for members means less wait times which will encourage cross-border trade, supporting both Canadian and American economies.
Canada and the United States agreed to implement the Action Plan one year ago today, on December 7, 2011. The Action Plan is designed to speed up legitimate trade and travel and improve security in North America, and it outlines the specific steps our countries intend to take to achieve our security and economic competitiveness goals.