David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance and head of the Ontario Trucking Association, is the latest to come out in favor of a adopting a "perimeter clearance approach" to future Canada/US border strategy.
Perimeter clearance means the US and Canada working closely together to strengthen protection of the external borders in order to free the movement of people and goods at our common border.
Proposed for the first time by Canada’s former ambassador to the United States a couple of years ago, American ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci is now also pushing the concept aggressively.
"There are those in Canada who believe that moving toward a perimeter border strategy would result in having our laws re-written in Washington. They argue that such a strategy would blur those lines we hold as a test of sovereignty. Before September 11, our organization was among those that felt the proposal would lead to such interminable debate on the nature of our relation with the United States that much-needed incremental progress on border issues would be delayed," David Bradley told shippers and carriers attending this year’s Council of Logistics Management conference in Kansas City. "But those planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers changed all that. They served as painful notice that in the face of global terrorism the old concepts of state; sovereignty and security are meaningless."
Bradley added that over time, such a strategy would likely result in a high level of harmonization of everything from immigration and security policies to food inspection practices. It would mean the integration of Canadian and U.S. border controls for travelers and goods. And over time, it could mean the elimination of border processing between Canada and the United States.
"Our border must not be allowed to become a source of friction between our two countries. It must not become a barrier to commerce or to economic growth. Perhaps no industrialized country in the world is as vulnerable in this regard as Canada," Bradley cautioned. "Fully one-third of the country’s GDP is dependent upon trade with the United States."
Over $US 1 billion daily worth of trade crosses the US-Canada border every year and this is expected to double again before this decade is out.
Close to 70 per cent of Canada/U.S. trade moves by truck. Each year there are about 14 million truck trips across the border – one every 2 seconds. Just-in-Time inventory systems, synchronous manufacturing, and other time sensitive production and distribution practices have been built around the moving freight by truck and predictable border crossing times.
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