Cross border trade issue worth watching
November 21, 2011
As most diplomatic and trade activity grinds to a halt this holiday season, shippers should still keep their eyes on what is happening with NAFTA.
Early next month, President Barack Obama will meet with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to formally introduce their much anticipated border security agreement. This will feature what is being called by both parties a “perimeter security” approach to the border.
Marine boundaries will also be tightened as a consequence of this agreement, tentatively called “Beyond the Border.” But privacy advocates – particularly in Canada – are concerned that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) may have access to too much information.
Harper and Obama – who met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Honolulu earlier this month – may have ironed out a few of the details on cargo screening. And one would hope that they are now moving forward on creating joint facilities and harmonized programs — within both countries and in other nations.
This would mean, ultimately, less duplication of cargo inspections thereby permitting goods passing inspection by a U.S. agent to breeze by his Canadian counterpart.
We trust that Canada will embrace this concept, and understand that Canadian sovereignty and the charter and privacy rights of individual citizens will be preserved.
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