American Shipper

North American governments see progress on preclearance system

North American governments see progress on preclearance system

   The United States and Canada have selected the U.S. side of the Thousand Island Bridge in Alexandria Bay, New York, as the site for a Canadian inspection station as part of a preclearance system pilot program.

   Both countries had previously agreed to relocate U.S. primary and secondary inspections stations to Fort Erie on the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge near Buffalo. Preclearance is a method of increasing efficiency and security by screening travelers and commercial shipments before they cross the border.

   The announcement was part of a three-month progress report issued Tuesday by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States for achieving homeland security and trade priorities. The Security and Prosperity Partnership agreed to by President Bush, President Vincente Fox and Prime Minister Paul Martin in March called for periodic progress reports on efforts to implement common approaches to security and economic development.

   Officials from all three countries met in Canada this week and proposed several new goals, including:

   * Improved measures for screening passengers and cargo entering and leaving North America.

   * Real-time information sharing on high-risk individuals and cargo.

   * Prioritizing investments for cross-border infrastructure.

   * Developing a coordinated strategy to combat counterfeiting and piracy by 2006.

   * Implementing a North American steel strategy within 12 months to maintain the global competitiveness of the sector.

   * Establishing an Automotive Partnership Council of North America that will provide recommendations on moving to a fully integrated auto sector.

   * Steps toward improved safety and efficiency of North American air navigation systems by 2007.