WOODSTOCK, N.B. — New Brunswick Liberal MP, Andy Savoy, wants the Woodstock-Houlton, Me. crossing to be on the cutting-edge when the government pumps millions into improving customs processing.
“Because we have such a strong relationship with the U.S. at our Woodstock-Houlton border, I would like to offer that up as an area for any pilot projects we’re looking at in security and commerce,” says Savoy. “If there are national issues on security and commerce, we want to be leading the pack.”
Savoy believes a lot of the new technologies will help increase traffic, stimulate the economy and help with security.
The Woodstock-Houlton and St. Stephen-Calais, Me. borders see the vast majority of trade traffic through the Atlantic region. With the recent completion of the Trans-Canada Highway link between Fredericton and Moncton, traffic at Woodstock is anticipated to increase because of the crossing’s convenience and direct connection to the I-95 in the U.S.
Finance Minister Paul Martin indicated he’d reveal the governments plans for customs improvements in his December budget.
Customs pre-clearance of goods at points of origin as opposed to border crossings, advance background checks on truckers and employers for security purposes as well as expedited border clearance, and electronic processing of customs forms to collect duties and taxes – are among ideas being considered.
“We want to improve commerce for all of Canada and our border crossing specifically,” Savoy says. “I’m sure that in the implementation of technology, definitely we should be looking here.”
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