U.S.-Canada 'FAST' Trade Program Grants Electronic Overpass to Borders
An RFID transponder was sent in by a truck driver enrolled in the FAST (Free and Secure Trade) program, which is obviously meant to speed up (and virtually bypass) border and customs interactions. By pre-enrolling information on the driver, carrier and importer/exporter and using RFID, mass numbers of fleets will be able move through special express lanes-- promising to reduce border examinations, streamline accounting between countries and otherwise facilitate the integration of the two nations.
The program is a joint initiative between the two countries and has enrollment centers in Washington, Montana, North Dakota, Michigan, Ontario, Quebec, New York, Vermont and New Brunswick-- giving it a full-border span as implementation is still under way.
Similar to 'trusted-traveller' programs between the U.S. and Mexico, cargo fleets will be waved on with nearly everyone simply pre-approved. Though terror concerns help to justify such integrated systems, the theoretical legitimacy of such threats would be undermined by the basic tenants of the program. At the same time, the integration widens the problem of over-sized government and facilitates the transfer of power from legitimate agencies to regional bodies unlikely to be closely guarded by the Constitution or other checks and balances backed by guaranteed rights.
From the Canada Border Services Agency website:
The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a joint Canada–United States initiative involving the Canada Border Services Agency and the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
FAST supports moving pre-approved eligible goods across the border quickly and verifying trade compliance away from the border.
In Canada, FAST builds on...the increased security measures under the Partners in Protection (PIP) program.
Partners in Protection (PIP) enlists the cooperation of private industry in efforts to enhance border security, combat organized crime and terrorism, increase awareness of customs compliance issues and help detect and prevent contraband smuggling.
Your carrier must either report all commercial goods you import into Canada on an approved cargo control document (CCD) or, in the case of rail shipments, electronically transmit the cargo information using electronic data interchange (EDI) technology before arriving at the Canadian border.
For more information on FAST, contact the CBSA at 1 800-842-7647 (Monday to Friday, 08:30 to 16:30 EST)
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