WASHINGTON, DC — After making some puzzling comments about Canadian cross-border affairs, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been invited north by Atlantic carriers to get a taste of Canadian trucking culture.
At the Border Trade Alliance conference yesterday, Peter Nelson, executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, expressed concerns over rising border administration costs to Ms. Napolitano.
The myriad of overlapping fees are a trade barrier, Nelson maintained, that cost the Canadian trucking industry $1 billion annually. He pointed out that Atlantic Canada imports fruit and produce from Florida, U.S. Southwest, southern California and Mexico 12 months of the year.
Secretary Napolitano agreed that the U.S. cannot continue to "fee" its way to a safe border, but that the "rule of reason has to apply."
However, the Arizonian — who has made some eyebrow raising statements regarding the Canadian-U.S. border as of late — suggested the "beneficiaries" of trade with the U.S. have to assume the administrative costs to manage the border, rather than U.S. taxpayers.
Nelson replied that it was Canadian consumers that ultimately paid these border processing fees in higher costs of goods imported from the U.S.
The goal of the new Obama administration, Napolitano said, is to have a modern, efficient and safe and secure border for people and commerce in North America.
While most can agree on the importance of a secure border, Nelson stated that the trucking industry is disturbed by its unnecessary bureaucratic thickening, noting that all Canadians are impacted by U.S. legislation being made in the name of border security.
Canadian Trucking Alliance President David Bradley has suggested in the past that the redundant security rules and the costs they create is masked, "backdoor protectionism," which is not unique to this administration in particular.
After reminding Secretary Napolitano that Atlantic Canada welcomed 30,000 air travelers into their homes when they were stranded in the air on 9/11, Nelson took the opportunity to invite the Homeland Security Secretary to visit Atlantic Canada and experience the culture of its border communities.
Perhaps a trip out to The Rock to get Screeched in would do the Southerner some good?
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