For Immediate Release DHS Press Office Contact: 202-282-8010
Next Step of Beyond the Border Initiative Begins at Peace Bridge Crossing
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in partnership with Public Safety Canada and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), officially launched Phase II of the truck cargo pre-inspection pilot at the Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. The pilot is a key deliverable under the Beyond the Border Action Plan issued by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper in 2011.
The United States and Canada are using the pilot to test the concept of conducting CBP primary inspection of U.S.-bound truck cargo in Canada in order to better manage their shared border and improve economic opportunities for both countries.
“The commencement of this pilot is another key Beyond the Border success,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “The joint efforts of the United States and Canada are key to expediting the secure flow of commerce and improving the economic opportunity of our two countries.”
Deputy Secretary Mayorkas, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Steven Blaney, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Robert Nicholson, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and U.S. Representative Brian Higgins attended today’s announcement. Earlier, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas, Minister Blaney and Minister Nicholson toured the CBP truck cargo pre-inspection area to see first-hand how pre-inspection has the potential to alleviate congestion and allow for faster crossings for travelers and trucks, all in a secure manner.
“The Governments of Canada and the U.S. are ensuring the efficient flow of legitimate travelers and goods across our shared border,” said Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. “I am pleased with the success of Phase I at the Pacific Highway Crossing in British Columbia and that we are now launching Phase II of this important Beyond the Border Action Plan initiative.”
Phase II of the pilot will test the ability of the pre-inspection process to reduce wait times and border congestion—streamlining the flow of cross-border trade that is vital to both country’s economies. Pre-inspection processing in Canada will include radiation screening and basic primary processing. Secondary inspections, when required, will continue to be conducted in the U.S. port of entry.
“Today is a banner day for Western New York, its commuters, restaurants, businesses, sports teams, residents and more,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “It’s been a long road getting the Peace Bridge chosen as one of only two pilot sites in the country for pre-clearance of commercial truck traffic on the Canadian side, but I am confident it will prove worth the wait. Starting today, the pilot program will make history in Western New York, and if it’s successful, could lead to its permanence and the relocation of all truck inspections to Ontario.”
“The United States and Canada have long enjoyed a strong binational partnership further bolstered by the Beyond the Border agreement,” said U.S. Representative Brian Higgins. “Pre-inspection saw success during phase I and holds great promise of facilitating a more efficient flow of goods, delivering environmental benefits and reducing congestion for all crossing the bridge. A more predictable border serves to grow the already deeply connected economies of Western New York and Southern Ontario supporting jobs and businesses on both sides of the bridge.”
Phase I of the initiative, which began June 2013 at the Pacific Highway crossing adjacent to Surrey, British Columbia, determined the feasibility of placing CBP officers on Canadian soil to pre-inspect selected southbound trucks, drivers and cargo prior to arrival into the United States.
On February 4, 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced the U.S.-Canada joint declaration, Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. It articulates a shared vision where both our countries work together to address threats at the earliest point possible, while facilitating the legitimate movement of people, goods, and services into our countries and across our shared border.