Trade Facilitation, Economic Growth and Jobs

Adopt a Common Framework for Trusted Trader Programs that Will Enhance Member Benefits

From the Action Plan

Canada and the United States will adopt a common framework for trusted trader programs that will align requirements, enhance member benefits and provide applicants with the opportunity to submit one application to multiple programs. Tier one will focus on supply chain security and tier two will focus on trade compliance and expedited border and accounting processes.

What we are doing

  • Canada and the U.S. will harmonize, strengthen, and expand membership in existing trusted trader programs and introduce a tiered concept.
  • Under Tier One, we will harmonize, by December 2013, two flagship trusted trader programs – known as C-TPAT and PIP. Changes are designed to encourage new membership, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Applicants will now be able to apply once for both programs and will receive a similar package of benefits, such as access to FAST lanes at specific locations starting in mid-2012.
  • Under Tier Two, both countries will work to align their respective border facilitation programs, known as CSA and ISA, for high volume, trusted shippers. Taking the best from each program and introducing new streamlined processes will provide a suite of new benefits to shippers. Further, focussed consultations with tier two members will look for ways to enable them to more efficiently manage the paperwork associated with shipping high volumes across the border.
  • Canada will also undertake two product-specific pilots. The first will focus on Tier One companies trading in certain products from the agri-food sector. The second will focus more narrowly on Tier Two companies in the processed food sub-sector. The United States will undertake one pilot that will centre on the pharmaceutical sector. These pilots are aimed at achieving robust border security while improving border efficiency and lowering inspection rates.

Why this is important

Canada and the U.S. both have programs for “trusted traders” which aim to make secure border processes more efficient. At the heart of this approach is a key trade-off: the private sector gives the government data about its supply chain in exchange for expedited clearance across the border. The current design of Canadian programs has made it difficult for small and medium-sized companies to obtain the benefits due to expensive security and business process investment requirements. By introducing a first tier, we are opening up trusted trader membership to many more companies, including SMEs. We are also providing additional benefits to the large Tier Two companies. The result will be to make the programs work better for a much larger membership and improve the security of the supply chain.

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Increase Harmonized Benefits to nexus Members

From the Action Plan

;We will increase recognition and use of the existing bi-national nexus program to advance the risk-based screening approach in aviation and border services to benefit government, industry and travellers…

What we are doing

  • Immediately recognizing nexus members for trusted traveller lanes at passenger pre-board screening points for flights from Canada to the U.S.;
  • Jointly developing a plan, by June 30, 2012, to incorporate third country traveller programs;
  • Developing program enhancements for all modes in the following areas: enrolment (including mobile enrolment); compliance (e.g., review compliance enforcement and redress); and other benefits within two years;
  • Including Canadian nexus members in a TSA risk-based screening program that provides differential treatment based on risk, upon implementation of such a program. Additionally, consider other categories of travellers who could be eligible to participate in the risk-based screening program;
  • Extending, by June 30, 2012, nexus membership eligibility to Canadian and U.S. citizens who currently do not reside in Canada or the United States; and
  • Developing, by June 2012, criteria to extend the applicability of the FAST card for drivers to cover other specified security programs.

Why this is important

Canada and the United States run a joint program called nexus to speed up cross-border travel for those who apply and are considered trusted. It makes sense to provide additional benefits to trusted travellers, such as speeding up wait times at security screening at airports. It also makes sense to achieve mutual recognition with certain trusted traveller programs outside of North America so Canadian and U.S. members do not face long waits at airports.. More benefits will encourage more people to join, speeding up airport processes and allowing security officials to focus on those outside of the circle of trust.

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Enhance Facilities to Support Trusted Trader and Traveller Programs

From the Action Plan

By March 31, 2012, we will develop a plan to expand nexus lanes, booths, and access to the lanes as required, at jointly identified ports of entry to accommodate the expected increase in nexus membership as a result of the implementation of the Beyond the Action Plan. Additionally, by December 2012, we will conduct a review of the FAST program to determine if future investments are warranted, and at which locations.

What we are doing

  • Canada will, by June 2013, expand nexus lanes and booths at Abbotsford, B.C.; Aldergrove, B.C.; Douglas, B.C.; Fort Erie, Ontario; Lacolle, Quebec; Pacific Highway, B.C.; Queenston, Ontario; Sarnia, Ontario; and Windsor, Ontario. These will align with existing U.S. investments.
  • We will look at additional nexus lanes at other crossings.
  • By December 2012, we will have assessed whether additional special lanes for members of the FAST program are required and if so, where.

Why this is important

For trusted trader and traveller programs to achieve their maximum effectiveness, they need to be supported by an adequate level of infrastructure. Consequently, Canada and the United States are developing plans to enhance the physical infrastructure around nexus (for travellers) and FAST (for carriers that haul our imports and exports). These measures will enhance our throughput capacity and reduce wait times.

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Implement Additional Pre-Inspection and Pre-Clearance Initiatives

From the Action Plan

We will develop a comprehensive approach on preclearance and pre-inspection covering all modes of cross-border trade and travel.

What we are doing

  • We will negotiate a full pre-clearance agreement for the land, rail and marine modes.
  • We will review and update the Canada-U.S. Air Transport Preclearance Agreement and identify ways to overcome existing challenges with the program, including CBP service levels.
  • By the end of 2012, Canada and the U.S. will complete negotiations for the full pre-clearance of goods and travellers at Massena, New York.
  • By the end of 2012, both countries will complete negotiations for full pre-clearance of U.S.-destined passenger rail and cruise ship travellers at Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • By September 2012, the U.S. will implement a truck cargo facilitation pilot project at a border crossing in Central Canada. Canada and the U.S. will conduct a bi-national pilot project on meat shipments.

Why this is important

Canada and the United States have some of the highest levels of cross-border trade and travel in the world. Numerous studies have shown that the increase in congestion, complexity, and compliance costs over the past decade have hurt the competitiveness of many of our producers and has discouraged some travellers from crossing over. Cross-border trade and travel with the United States is crucial to Canada’s economic prosperity. The widespread application of pre-clearance and pre-inspection processes will make cross-border trade much more efficient. Building on the successful model of air pre-clearance, in which travellers clear U.S. customs before boarding the plane in Canada, we will expand these concepts to the land, sea, and rail modes.

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Facilitate the Conduct of Cross Border Business

From the Action Plan

Canada and the United States will “facilitate the conduct of cross border business”

What we are doing

  • Providing, by June 2012, additional administrative guidance and training to border officers to improve their knowledge and to ensure consistent application of current rules on temporary access for business travellers.
  • Developing and implementing by June 2012, administrative policies and requirements on the movement of specialized personnel to perform maintenance and repairs of industrial machinery and critical operations systems.
  • Working to extend existing rules authorizing temporary entry of business visitors who provide “After-Sales Service” to equally apply to those who provide “After-Lease Service”.
  • Developing and implementing, by August 2012, ways of incorporating temporary access information on to the nexus client profile.
  • Reviewing current administrative processes in which business travellers can receive an advanced ruling prior to travel.
  • Reviewing the effectiveness of existing “redress and recourse” mechanisms for business travellers whose applications are denied and implement administrative and operational improvements by December 2012.
  • The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and the Secretary of Homeland Security will be initiating consultations with stakeholders on ways to improve the application of the rules on temporary access.

Why this is important

Canada and the U.S. currently allow certain business travellers to travel to the other country for short-term economic activities. However, the way these rules have been applied has been a source of numerous complaints from the business community. Current rules, for example, allow business travellers to come from the other country to provide after-sales service, but not after-lease service. The problem is that Canadian firms increasingly lease, rather than sell, machines to U.S. clients. Moreover, the application of these rules is inconsistent between border crossings and over time, leading to delays in crossing the border and lost business. The training and guidance provided to border officers of both countries will be enhanced. We also want to leverage the power of the nexus platform for those travellers who are members to disseminate temporary entry information. These measures are not about immigration or labour market policies. They are about is giving business travellers predictability at the border when they are called upon to provide specific, legitimate short-term business services.

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Provide Traders with a Single Window

From the Action Plan

Canada and the United States will provide traders with a single window through which they can electronically submit all information required to comply with customs and other government regulations; this information would then be assessed electronically by the relevant government departments and agencies, resulting in border-related decisions which would be transmitted electronically.

What we are doing

  • We will fully implement and align our Single Window programs. A Single Window is a unique portal into which traders can electronically enter all information required by all departments of government related to an import transaction. The data will be received by the relevant agencies who, in turn, will assess this information electronically and provide any border-related decision required.
  • We will convert all required forms/templates of all participating government departments to electronic form by 2013.
  • This conversion will be accompanied by a review of existing departmental regulatory requirements with a view to verifying that the information is really essential for regulatory purposes.
  • As an interim milestone, the border-related decision processes for at least the four most important departments from a border perspective (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Health Canada, Transport Canada and Foreign Affairs Canada) will be converted to electronic form no later than December 2013.
  • We will track and report on the increased number of agencies conducting business electronically.

Why this is important

Canada-U.S. trade rules currently require traders to spend a lot of time filling out paperwork. For example, when bringing a refrigerator into Canada from the U.S., the importer has to provide paper-based forms to nine separate government departments. The single window will significantly reduce the paperwork burden by providing traders with one portal into which they can enter all required information once. Once the data is received, the government system will forward the necessary pieces to each department or agency that needs to provide a border-related decision on the transaction. This kind of commonsense measure will make the trade process easier for business and aid government in effective regulation.

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Harmonize Low-Value Shipment Processes

From the Action Plan

We will promote supply chain connectivity by harmonizing low-value shipment processes to expedite customs administration

What we are doing

  • For Expedited Customs Clearance:We will increase and harmonize commercial low-value shipment thresholds to $2,500. This is up from the current levels of $2,000 for the U.S. and $1,600 for Canada.
  • For Exemption under NAFTA Certificate of Origin:We will harmonize commercial low-value shipment thresholds to $2,500, thereby aligning to the current U.S. threshold.

Why this is important

Many low value commercial shipments are imported via courier for businesses. In addition, these shipments are often exports of small companies. We are encouraging more small businesses to export by raising the threshold below which the customs clearance process is greatly simplified. As part of this, we are also raising the threshold below which shipments do not have to be accompanied by a NAFTA certificate of origin – which many small businesses find difficult to complete. By pursuing harmonized and simplified procedures, we are also making it easier and more predictable for small businesses to complete their sales abroad and, perhaps, grow to become bigger businesses.

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Bring Greater Public Transparency and Accountability to the Application of Border Fees

From the Action Plan

We will … develop, for each country, an inventory of fees and charges at the border; …commission a third party to conduct an economic impact assesSMEnt of such fees; … publish a joint “Report on Border Fees

What we are doing

  • We will develop, for each country, an inventory of all fees and charges levied at the border.
  • We will also commission an independent economic assesSMEnt of the cumulative impact of existing fees in a number of important sectors.
  • We will complete and make public these documents by September, 2012.

Why this is important

Both our governments levy fees to pay for border operations on a cost recovery basis. This is a good thing because it allows Canada and the U.S. to provide the level of service we do at the border. While border operations have to be paid for, there is overlap as well as insufficient clarity in the array of fees presently applied at the border. Canada and the U.S. will therefore assemble a comprehensive inventory of all existing fees and an explanation of how they are applied. Because business has frequently expressed concerns about fees, it makes sense to conduct an economic impact assesSMEnt of the fees in some major sectors. Once completed, we will put the inventory and the impact assesSMEnt into the public domain as a way of encouraging a policy debate on the optimal approach to fees.

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Coordinate Border Infrastructure Investments and Upgrade Physical Infrastructure at Key Border Crossings

From the Action Plan

We will develop a joint Border Infrastructure Investment Plan to ensure a mutual understanding of available funding for targeted projects and the schedule, scope, and responsibilities for those projects in consultation and coordination with all applicable local, state/provincial, and federal stakeholders. … We commit to make significant investments in physical infrastructure at key crossings to relieve congestion and speed the movement of traffic across the border.

What we are doing

  • By June 30 2012, we will develop the first joint Border Infrastructure Investment Plan, which will run for five years.
  • It will cover major infrastructure upgrades, including customs plaza replacement and redevelopment, additional primary inspection lanes and booths, expanded or new secondary inspection facilities, and expanded or new connecting roads, highway interchanges and bridges.
  • Based on a preliminary assesSMEnt of investment needs, Canada has identified Emerson, Manitoba; Lacolle, Quebec; Lansdowne, Ontario; North Portal, Saskatchewan; and Peace Bridge, Ontario as initial priority crossings.
  • Based on a preliminary assesSMEnt, the United States has identified Alexandria Bay, New York; Blue Water Bridge, Michigan; Lewiston Bridge, New York; Peace Bridge, New York as initial priority crossings.

Why this is important

Canada and the U.S. currently manage our border infrastructure separately. By doing this, there is a risk of a mismatch of investments that ends up hurting trade and travel moving in both directions. It makes sense for Canada and the U.S. to coordinate on the planning of our border infrastructure. It also makes sense that both our countries target our investments toward alleviating the bottlenecks at specific ports.

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Coordinate Plans for Physical Infrastructure Upgrades at Small and Remote Ports of Entry

From the Action Plan

We will better coordinate joint port of entry investment and enhance client service by (e)stablishing a small and remote port working group to evaluate a bi-national approach to operational alignment (for example, mirroring hours), infrastructure investment, and improved service

What we are doing

  • We will establish a small and remote port working group to develop solutions for enhancing client service at these ports in future.
  • They will finalize their recommendations by June 2012. These, in turn, will be incorporated into the broader Border Infrastructure Investment Plan.
  • We will seek to be as objective as possible in assessing the policy options around specific crossings.

Why this is important

Canada and the United States have sizeable geographies and, in many areas, dispersed populations which require service from smaller and more remote border crossings. Ports of entry are expensive to operate. It makes sense to explore innovative solutions through which our countries can work together to deliver top quality service to clients while saving money. We will explore a variety of solutions for achieving this, such as sharing resources or facilities and a greater use of technology.

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Implement a Border Wait Time Measurement System

From the Action Plan

(We) will develop a plan to identify reasonable and achievable border wait time service levels at major crossings. Real-time border wait time information will be made available to border and transportation agencies to better manage their resources and to drivers to make informed decisions about when and where to cross the border.

What we are doing

  • By June 2012, Canada and the United States will jointly publish wait time service levels at key crossings.
  • We will disseminate accurate wait time information to the authorities and to drivers through a variety of official websites, social media platforms, and traveller information signs on the road.
  • Over the next three years, we will install border wait time measurement systems at the top 20 crossings.

Why this is important

Accurately measured wait times are among the most basic and important data points that tell traders and policy-makers whether the border is working. Yet, there has heretofore been no agreed Canada-U.S. approach quantifying how long it takes shippers and travellers to get through the line. Our countries have now agreed to rectify this data gap. This will allow us to set and measure wait time levels, with a view to making improvements over time. Beyond this longer-term issue, accurate wait time levels will tell truckers and travellers on a daily basis how long they will need to cross the border and whether they should consider re-routing.

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Implement Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

From the Action Plan

To align with existing U.S. investments, Canada will deploy RFID technology in a minimum of two lanes at eleven land ports.

What we are doing

  • Canada will deploy RFID technology in a minimum of 2 lanes at the Ambassador Bridge (Windsor, Ontario); Blue Water Bridge (Sarnia, Ontario) ; Cornwall (Cornwall, Ontario); Douglas (Surrey, B.C.); Emerson (Emerson, Manitoba); Peace Bridge (Fort Erie, Ontario); Lacolle (St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec); Pacific Highway (Surrey, B.C.); Queenston Bridge (Niagara, Ontario); Rainbow Bridge (Niagara, Ontario); and Windsor-Detroit Tunnel (Windsor, Ontario).

Why this is important

Many Canadian and U.S. documents used for crossing the border are RFID-ready. These include Enhanced Drivers Licences, U.S. ePassport cards, and nexus cards. These RFID-enabled cards allow travellers to drive up, have their card recognized by the reader, and go. This speeds the pace of travel across the border. It makes sense for Canada to catch up to the U.S. investments on RFID because it will ensure that travel across the border is more efficient in both directions.

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Enhance Binational Port Operations Committees

From the Action Plan

Building on the twenty land border Binational Port Operations Committees established in 2011, we commit to establish additional committees at the eight international airports in Canada that provide U.S. preclearance. Both the existing and new Binational Port Operations Committees will play an important role in improving how we manage travel and trade flows and expedite the processing of travellers and goods.

What we are doing

  • We will establish Binational Port Operations Committees at the eight international airports in Canada that provide U.S. preclearance.
  • The committees will involve U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency, and other law enforcement and transportation partners.
  • By March 31, 2012, the 20 existing and 8 new committees will each develop an action plan of specific initiatives to improve border management and efficiency. They will meet at least four times per year.
  • We will conduct a full evaluation of the committees in 2012, and consider the creation of new committees in 2013.

Why this is important

Pilot projects have shown that bringing together all major partners involved in the management of a port of entry can lead to positive and specific local solutions. These solutions have been shown to both facilitate trade and travel and enhance security. Canada and the U.S. are providing a forum where local port of entry stakeholders can get together, work through problems, and make the border work better for everyone.

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Contact Information

PCO Border Action Plan Implementation Team
700-66 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A3
Email: border@actionplan.gc.ca
Fax: 613-992-2366

Features

Implementation report 2015