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Get with the program US attache warns Canadian shippers

TORONTO, Ont. There are more than 45,000 Canadian companies registered to trade with the US, yet less than three ...

TORONTO, Ont. There are more than 45,000 Canadian companies registered to trade with the US, yet less than three per cent are part of the US government’s C-TPAT program, a statistic that’s not sitting well with Washington, Eric Couture, assistant attache Customs and Border Protection, United States Embassy, warned shippers attending Transpo 2006.

Couture said that of 54,225 trading with the US, only 2.88% are part of C-TPAT, which serves at the backbone of the border security programs enacted since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

“This is the statistic Washington is looking at,” the colorful Couture said. “If you are not members of C-TPAT that means to us you don’t care about our security and combating terrorism. And if you don’t why should we care about facilitating the movement of your goods across our border?”

Couture pointed out that the emphasis in Washington has shifted again to place security and protecting against terrorism at the top of the Customs agenda, ahead of facilitating the movement of goods across the border because the steady growth in transborder trade the last three years indicates that trade has recovered from the effects of 9/11.

He added that shippers currently choosing not to participate in C-TPAT because they believe it will go away when US president George Bush finishes his term in office are living a false dream.

“I’m here to tell you Americans have not yet forgotten Pearl Harbor,” he said in stressing that 9/11 is entrenched in the American psyche.

He said he recognized that security concerns may not be as top of mind in Canada and that supply chain managers presenting projects to boost security will likely be asked about the return on investment, but there are costs to not participating in border security programs.

“When we hit Condition Red I stress not if but when the C-TPAT partners will get examined first. We are going to get the C-TPAT shipments done and only when we finish those are we going to look at those not part of C-TPAT. And if someone else comes in with a C-TPAT load, we look at that first before going back to the other lane. You think that’s going to tick off the people in the other lane (with non C-TPAT shipments)? What do we say? You should have joined the program.”

Truck News’ sister publication, Canadian Transportation & Logistics was the media sponsor of Transpo 2006.

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