By: Elliott Smith
The US & Canadian Governments have released their 2012 annual report on implementation of the joint Canada/US Beyond the Border action plan for harmonizing trade & security regulations and streamlining the flow of legitimate commerce across the international boundary. Two highlights in particular include actions taken to bolster trusted traveler and shipper programs, NEXUS for individuals and FAST for cargo.
Operators in the logistics industry and businesses with international supply chains will be pleased to hear that the process to harmonize regulations for the prerequisite supply chain security programs in each country has begun. Although FAST, which stands for Free And Secure Trade, is a joint US/Canadian operation, each country has its own program that shippers must join to become eligible for FAST. In the United States, this program is known as C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism), the similar program in Canada is known as PIP (Partners in Protection). Both programs are designed to enlist the help of private industry in fighting terrorism and organized crime and enhance business awareness of customs regulations. Enrollment in C-TPAT or PIP and subsequent participation in FAST allows cargo shippers to use a special express lane to cross the border at certain points of entry and provides other benefits that make international shipping faster and easier. Harmonizing C-TPAT and PIP should simplify the process of participating in FAST, and facilitate the movement of more cargo across the border.
Both governments also embarked on an ambitious expansion of the NEXUS program, extending eligibility to US and Canadian citizens who reside outside of the US or Canada. The governments also engaged in “enrollment blitzes” to sign up more frequent border crossers for the trusted traveler program, and embarked on several information campaigns to raise awareness about the benefits of becoming a NEXUS member. Locally, the Whatcom Council of Governments coordinated a major publicity effort at the Peace Arch & Pacific Highway border crossings, enlisting the help of local college students on their summer break to distribute information about NEXUS to drivers waiting in long summertime border queues. This information campaign directed people to a new website, www.crossfaster.com, which offers information about both NEXUS and Enhanced Drivers Licenses (EDL’s) and contains information on how to acquire these “smart” border crossing documents.
Working together, the US and Canadian governments embarked on a number of other important agenda items to implement the Beyond the Border Action Plan in 2012, striving towards increasing continental security and lowering barriers to legitimate trade. The full report is available from the White House.
TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.
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By: Elliott Smith