US delays APHIS inspection program – again

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OTTAWA, Ont. — The US has once again delayed a program that would slap increased inspection fees on Canadian carriers, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

The inspection fees of $5.25 per truck (or $105/year), levied by the US Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), were to be slapped against all trucks crossing the border, regardless of the commodity they are hauling. This is the second time the controversial program has been delayed, but the CTA warns the issue is not going away and the delay is only expected to last 90 days.

Im pleased that the US has taken this step. I think it validates what CTA and many other business groups in the Canada and the United States have been saying for some time that the plan to introduce this program on the Canada/US border was conceived without adequate consultation and needs to be re-thought said CTA CEO, David Bradley. The Canadian federal government has taken a strong stand on this issue and it is to be commended for its efforts. However, a delay does not mean the issue has gone away, and I would encourage federal officials to continue to press the US to come up with a solution that does not result in a doubling of the annual charge to send a truck into the United States which is what we face now. Certainly CTA will continue to work with its counterparts in the US trucking industry and the business community generally to bring forward our concerns.

The CTA said some Canadian carriers have already purchased the $105 decals under the program, which was supposed to kick off in late March.

I remain hopeful that this second delay will ultimately lead to the complete withdrawal of the plan by APHIS to charge this fee and step up inspections at the land border, said Bradley. But even if this is the case, we now have a situation where cross-border carriers have paid an annual user fee for 2007 for a program that will not be implemented until around mid-year, if at all. There is an issue of basic fairness here that CTA will be calling upon US officials to address.

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