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Canadian Ambassador says excessive border rules need review to avoid parking lot situation

WASHINGTON -- Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson is calling for a review of US Customs and Border Protections extr...

WASHINGTON — Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson is calling for a review of US Customs and Border Protections extreme security measures at the Canada-US line. Wilson spoke at a recent agency trade symposium, telling those present how idling trucks on both sides of the border is neither safe nor secure.

Wilson told the agency that the border rules put it place made sense as stand-alones but they dont work well as a group.

The competition from abroad is fierce, he was quotes as saying in an article by The Globe and Mail. We cannot allow a host of seemingly unrelated regulations to collectively erode what we have achieved with (free trade) and put at risk our mutual economic prosperity in the years ahead.

The report said Canada wants much of the border clearance process to move away from crossing points, as well as a bilateral vision of what the border should look like 10 to 15 years down the road.

Business leaders are blaming the delays on extra security checks, not enough infrastructure, inadequate staffing and faulty computer systems, according to The Globe. Even trucking companies enrolled in special programs like FAST are getting hit with additional checks.

The article noted that the problem is magnified because parts for many products, such as cars and trucks, are shipped back and forth across the border several times during the building process.

Rising fees are also a key concern, including two bills in Congress that would impose new user fees on food and drugs going to the US because of heightened concerns about products from countries like China.

If the bills are passed and apply to Canada, Canadian companies would pay 10 times more than those in China and twice as much as those in the European Union, according to The Globe, since Canada is the single largest exporter of food and agricultural products to the United States.

The article also mentioned fears of longer lineups once passports are required at land and sea crossings into the US as early as next summer.

–with files from The Globe and Mail

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