New US-Canadian border deal to speed up crossings

Canadians travelling to the United States by boat, bus or train are to get US customs clearance in their own country under the latest cross-border agreement.

 Crossing on the US-Canadian border

Crossing on the US-Canadian border Image by Reg Natarajan / CC BY 2.0

Currently there are pre-clearance facilities at eight Canadian airports, but the new agreement would allow pre-clearance for rail, sea and land travel.

The deal, signed yesterday, could lead to more fluid crossing instead of the often choked traffic conditions, with representatives of the trucking and tourism industries and other cross-border trade groups welcoming the move.

The Star.com website said the agreement was described as ‘historic’ by government ministers from both countries, but has yet to be voted through the legislature of the two administrations. The pre-clearance stations will be created in areas where it makes sense to establish them.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama’s Beyond the Border pact signed in 2011 was the foundation stone which led to yesterday’s outcome.

Maryscott Greenwood, of the Canadian American Busibness described the accord as dramatic and historic for US-Canadian relations.

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