DETROIT, Mich. — Shipments of goods from Canada to certain U.S. corporations will soon be able to sidestep routine U.S. Customs inspections under a new program.
Announced by Homeland Security director Tom Ridge, one of the key American officials dealing with Canada-U.S. security issues since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the pilot project involves 60 major U.S. companies.
Under the plan, U.S. importers agree to work with the government to boost security — including stiffer employee background checks and more scrutiny of goods shipped across the border.
In return, U.S. Customs will make it easier for pre-approved companies to cross the border, particularly at Detroit-Windsor, a major route for billions of dollars worth of parts and finished goods.
General Motors will be one of the initial companies to take part, giving the government advance information on its goods and suppliers.
As a truck rolls up towards the border — actually when it’s about 15 minutes out — GM will electronically notify U.S. Customs it is approaching and exactly what is on it. An on-board transponder will identify the shipment.
A similar system — called Customs Self-Assessment (CSA) — was put in place by Canada last December for goods from the U.S. Larry Hahn, a spokesperson for customs broker Livingston International of Mississauga, tells local media the U.S. system is more onerous than CSA.
That said, both require far less information than the old regime, and he expects traders will benefit thanks to waning congestion.
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