Canadian-American Border Trade Alliance President Border Infrastructure Investment Plan, “NAFTA 2.0”

Supply Chain Management Review highlights the value of the Beyond the Border (BTB) Action Plan to the Canada-U.S. economic partnership, viewing it as a “NAFTA 2.0” for Pacific Rim shippers.

While the article’s initial focus is on Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, it uses the Canada-U.S. relationship as an example of the valuable enhanced economic cooperation.  Specifically it highlights port inspection pilot projects, a key part of the BTB Action Plan, and the Canada-U.S. Border Infrastructure Investment Plan (BIIP).  (For more background, check out BTBObservers previous posts on the Canada-U.S. integrated cargo security strategy and BIIP.)

From yesterday’s Supply Chain Management Review article:

“Last year, for example, we saw the first-ever joint U.S.-Canada Border Infrastructure Investment Plan (BIIP),” says [President and CEO of the Canadian-American Border Trade Alliance James D.] Phillips. “The development and release of this initiative fulfills a commitment made under the ‘2011 United States-Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan.’”

The BIIP is an interagency and bi-national planning mechanism developed to establish a mutual understanding of recent, ongoing, and potential border infrastructure investments. It outlines the approach that the US and Canada will take to coordinate plans for physical infrastructure upgrades at small and remote ports of entry. This initiative will be updated and disseminated annually, and follows recent announcements by Canada of significant investments at inland cargo gateways like North Portal, Saskatchewan, which serves Pacific Rim trade.

At the same time, the US and Canada announced a pilot project at the Port of Prince Rupert to eliminate duplicate security checks of marine cargo that enters Canada but is destined for the United States by rail. Under the new approach, cargo is screened only once, at its initial port of arrival, after which it is free to move across the U.S.-Canada border without the need for further inspections – embracing the principle of “screened once, accepted twice.”

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper appear to be on the same page when it comes to “version two” of NAFTA – and that can only mean good things for Pacific Rim shippers.

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