Bi-National Rail Cargo Pre-Screening Pilot
This pilot involves CBSA Border Services Officers (BSOs) pre-screening rail cargo by viewing x-ray images of northbound rail cars at Rouses Point, New York. Working alongside United States Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) officers, the BSOs can note any irregularities and finish processing the goods in Canada. This is the first time the CBSA is working in this type of operational capacity in the United States.
The benefits and outcomes of this pilot
- Serves to improve border security by supporting the modernization of the CBSA's rail program.
- Allows the CBSA to be involved earlier in the supply chain.
- Develops service standards for pre-screening operations.
- Further demonstrates CBSA's commitment to pursuing preclearance.
- Future preclearance operations modelled on the pilot outcomes will seek to facilitate commercial trade and economic competitiveness by improving border processes.
The CBSA may use information gathered from this pilot for future cargo preclearance operations in the U.S.
Canada and the U.S. signed the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance (LRMA) on March 16, 2015. This agreement provides the framework to expand preclearance (the ability to conduct customs processing in another country) to all modes of cross-border trade and travel, including commercial cargo. Previous preclearance legislation allowed U.S. preclearance laws to be administered in Canada. The new agreement allows Canada to establish preclearance in the U.S.
Following the signing of the LRMA, both Canada and the U.S. have been working to bring the supporting legislation into force.
- Canada: Bill C-23, An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States, is currently being read in the Senate.
- U.S: Promoting Travel, Commerce and National Security, became law on December 16, 2016.
On February 13, 2017, Canada and the U.S. reaffirmed their commitment to implement cargo preclearance.
The CBSA will use the LRMA as the framework for decisions it makes to improve program integrity, enhance border security, facilitate trade, improve the cross-border flow of legitimate goods, promote economic development, minimize disruptions to industry, and allow for border infrastructure to be used to maximum efficiency. This pilot will help the CBSA achieve these goals by creating a proof of concept for future cargo preclearance operations in the U.S.
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