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Canada expands FAST trusted traders’ pilot program

Blue Water Bridge

The Canadian government expanded its trusted traders’ expedited border crossing pilot program to another site on Dec. 7.

Patricia Davidson, Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton, on behalf of Canada's Public Safety Minister, announced an expansion of the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) pilot to include the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ontario. The expansion, she said, is part of joint U.S./Canadian Beyond the Border Action Plan to reduce border delays for trusted traders.

The twin-span Blue Water Bridge connects Highway 402 in Ontario with both Interstate 69 and Interstate 94 in Michigan. The bridges are jointly-owned by the U.S. and Canada. The bridges are the second-busiest U.S./Canada border crossing after the Ambassador Bridge at Detroit-Windsor.

The Blue Water Bridge expansion, she said, will allow Partners in Protection (PIP) and Customs Self Assessment (CSA) trusted traders to use the FAST lanes/booths without having to be members of both programs, which is the current requirement. The six-month pilot will align Canada's eligibility requirements with those of the U.S., said a Dec. 7 statement by Canada’s Border Services Agency (CBSA). If successful, changes may be permanently implemented at all three ports where FAST is currently available, it added.

 "With $1.9 billion worth of goods and services crossing our shared border every day, we have a vested interest in reducing barriers to trade," said Davidson. "The pilot aims to further reduce border wait times for trusted traders thereby strengthening the security and economy of both nations."

"CTA is pleased to work in partnership with the CBSA in our efforts to improve the efficiency of cross-border trade," said Canadian Trucking Alliance President and chief executive officer David Bradley. "The trucking industry has long supported these changes to the FAST program and looks forward to continuing to work with the CBSA to improve benefits for Trusted Traders."

The CBSA called the FAST pilot, an important step in continuing to manage risk at the border and facilitates the lawful flow of pre-approved, low-risk traders, enabling officers to focus their efforts on unknown or higher-risk goods. Expedited passage for members means less wait times which will encourage cross-border trade, supporting both Canadian and American economies, it said.

Canada and the U.S. agreed to implement the Action Plan a year ago on December 7, 2011. The plan is designed to speed up legitimate trade and travel and improve security in North America, and it outlines specific steps the U.S. and Canada intend to take to achieve our security and economic competitiveness goals.


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