Pre-clearance scrapped after U.S. breaks off ...
April 30, 2007
30 April 2007
Pre-clearance scrapped after U.S. breaks off Canada talks
This article is extracted from the 27 April 2007 edition of “The Journal of Commerce’.
Truckers who haul the vast majority of goods between the United States and Canada expressed disappointment after two years’ of talks to move some U.S. Customs pre-clearance operations from Buffalo, N.Y., to Fort Erie, Ontario, failed to produce an agreement.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff broke off negotiations in a telephone call Wednesday to his Canadian counterpart, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, and in a formal letter Thursday.
Chertoff in the letter said that U.S. searches, investigations, and fingerprinting would have been restricted under Canadian law. “That is something we are not willing to surrender,” said Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke.
Pre-clearance was included as a part of “shared border management” in the U.S.-Canada-Mexico Security and Prosperity Partnership of 2004. The plan called for a pilot project shifting some U.S. Customs operations to Canada from its cramped location at Buffalo, and Canadian Customs would move to the U.S., at Alexandria Bay, N.Y.
“It’s not good,” said Margaret Irwin, director of cross-border operations for the American Trucking Associations in Washington. “This was something important for the better movement of traffic in the third-busiest commercial crossing between the United States and Canada, and it certainly isn’t good for the prospects of this concept being used anywhere else along the northern border.”
Carriers and shippers have long lobbied for “reverse inspection” along the border, to improve traffic flow and security. Those prospects now appear unlikely to be adopted….
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