Rep. Bill Owens BTB Follow-Up Meeting Highlights Crossborder Achievements and Remaining Challenges

April 8, 2013

Last Friday, Rep. Bill Owens hosted a Beyond the Border (BTB) follow-up panel that discussed the successes of and remaining obstacles facing the border security and trade facilitation initiative between Canada and the United States.

Natasha Haverty, for North Country Public Radio, reports on meeting held at Clarkson University, which brought together business representatives with officials of the departments charged with coordinating BTB, the Canadian Privy Council Office and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

From Haverty’s report:

…Security and business leaders came up with a long list of obstacles, and an even longer list of action items. But both sides agreed that there are too many rules and regulations slowing down trade without making things safer.

The Honorable Kevin O’Shea, representing the Privy Council Office of the Canadian government, asked, “How is it that two countries like Canada, like the United States that have robust regulatory systems that essentially aim at the same outcomes, why do we have different standards for goods that you could scratch your head, as to why?” 

…Brad Skinner, of the US Department of Homeland Security, said things have already gotten easier for travelers. For example, if you’re flying from Ottawa to Miami, with a stop in Chicago, he said your luggage is now screened just once, not twice.

Rep. Owens interest in the Canada-U.S. trade relationship is easy to trace.  With Potsdam only 87 miles/140 km from Ottawa and 105 miles/169 km from Montreal, cross-border trade is critical to his district.  

And a quick glance at Rep Owens economic press releases shows how the seemingly arcane nuances of international trade have real-life economic impacts in Canada and the United States.

The Potsdam meeting highlights the considerable progress made on the BTB Action Plan, a cross-border ‘to do’ list that includes such disparate elements from Great Lakes radio interoperability to aligning food & plant safety systems.  

But the discussion also highlighted the need to fully implement BTB’s current action plan, and then tackling other impediments to cross-border trade.

Global Entry Now Available at All Eight Canadian Preclearance Airports

June 26, 2012

U.S. Embassy, Ottowa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced today that all eight preclearance airports in Canada now have Global Entry kiosks. The newest kiosks were installed at Edmonton International Airport in Edmonton, Alberta and have been processing travelers since Tuesday, June 19.

Global Entry allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers the ability to bypass the traditional CBP inspection process and use automated kiosks to expedite their entry into the U.S.

“Having this alternative in the preclearance environment allows travelers to be processed faster, before they even board an aircraft,” said CBP Acting Assistant Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. “Global Entry also allows CBP officers to focus on those who may pose a higher risk.”

Read more here.

Canada, United States and Mexico Focus on Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity

April 3, 2012

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today met with his NAFTA counterparts Ambassador Ron Kirk, U.S. Trade Representative, and Bruno Ferrari, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, in Washington, D.C., to affirm Canada’s commitment to enhancing North America’s competitiveness by helping the critical small and medium-sized business sector continue to expand and succeed.

Read more here


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