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MCLELLAN AND RIDGE AGREE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH LAND PRECLEARANCE PILOTS

MCLELLAN AND RIDGE AGREE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH LAND PRECLEARANCE PILOTS


Detroit, December 17, 2004 - On the 3rd anniversary of the signing of the Canada United States Smart Border Declaration, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge today released the fifth Smart Border Action Plan Status Report. Highlights of the significant progress made include:

_ issuance of a framework to put land preclearance in place at the Buffalo-Fort Erie Peace Bridge and at one other border crossing. The preclearance pilot at the Peace Bridge would involve the re-location of all U.S. primary and secondary border operations for both commercial and passenger traffic from Buffalo to Fort Erie. At the second pilot site, Canadian border functions will be moved to the U.S. side of the border, with the two Governments actively exploring crossings where this may be suitable, such as the Thousand Islands Bridge or Queenston-Lewiston;

_ the finalization of the Canadian and American regulations for the Safe Third Country Agreement. Implementation of the Agreement at the Canada United States land border will follow shortly;

_ the decision to expand U.S. preclearance facilities to the Halifax International Airport as soon as the construction of the necessary infrastructure is completed; and

_ the expansion of the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program to seven new high volume commercial crossings along the land border.

"Our two Governments have heard the call for urgent implementation of land preclearance from American and Canadian stakeholders alike. We are responding today by issuing a framework to put preclearance in place at the Peace Bridge and at another location along the land border. This initiative is a true testimony of how our two countries are working together to create a more modern, secure and efficient border," said Secretary Ridge.

Secretary Ridge and Deputy Prime Minister McLellan also met with border stakeholders from the Windsor-Detroit region today to discuss the unique challenges of the Windsor Detroit Gateway. The Ambassador Bridge and the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel is a critical link in Canada-U.S. trade, and were used by over 13.4 million cars and 1.8 million commercial vehicles in 2003-2004. It is a matter of national and economic security to both countries that there be sufficient capacity to accommodate our expanding trade at these crossings of international importance.

"We are making progress at improving flows across the Windsor-Detroit Gateway, and we are prepared to do more," said Deputy Prime Minister McLellan. "Secretary Ridge and I today met today with bridge, tunnel and ferry operators, and together we have committed to reduce transit times across the Windsor-Detroit Gateway by an additional 25% over the next year."

"The 25% Challenge is an ambitious and an achievable goal. We are committed to providing the leadership and the investments necessary to improving flows through this critical trade corridor," said Secretary Ridge.

In recognition of the critical need to make additional resources available at the busiest land border crossing between Canada and the U.S., Minister McLellan added that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will begin immediately hiring an additional 30 officers. This move will increase capacity to process commercial traffic at Windsor by approximately 20%.

"Hiring more officers demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to reducing border wait times," said Minister McLellan. "It will also enable the CBSA to optimize usage of the current infrastructure in Windsor. The community, industry and our two economies will all benefit as a result."

Finally, Deputy Prime Minister McLellan and Secretary Ridge tasked officials to finalize the development of a next generation Smart Borders agenda, as committed to by Prime Minister Martin and President Bush in the New Partnership in North America joint statement, released following their meeting in Ottawa on November 30, 2004.


- 30 -
For more information:

Alex Swann DHS Press Office
Director of Communications (202) 282-8010
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
(613) 991-2924

Joint Canada-U.S. Framework for Land Preclearance Pilots


The Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America committed to building a more secure, efficient and modern border in signing the Smart Border Declaration. Substantial progress has been made in implementing the associated Action Plan. At the heart of the Smart Borders process is the recognition that public security and economic security can be achieved simultaneously and are mutually reinforcing. Preclearance at the land border is an excellent example of how the United States of America and Canada can advance the dual objectives of security and facilitation.

In signing the present framework, both Governments commit to move forward with land preclearance at the Buffalo-Fort Erie Peace Bridge. This preclearance pilot would involve the re-location of all U.S. primary and secondary border operations for both commercial and passenger traffic from Buffalo to Fort Erie. The Governments also commit to move forward to re-locate Canadian border inspection functions to the U.S. side of the border at a different location and are actively exploring crossings where this may be suitable, such as the Thousand Islands Bridge or Queenston-Lewiston.

The following policy principles will guide the negotiation of an agreement.

1. Both security and trade facilitation will be enhanced while minimizing adverse impacts on the surrounding community.

2. Land preclearance will be reciprocal, in that it will be capable of accommodating U.S. officials operating on Canadian soil as well as Canadian officials operating on U.S. soil.

3. The security of preclearance officials will be ensured.

4. Consistency with the constitutional and legal frameworks of the host country, where the preclearance area is located.

5. Expansion of the existing preclearance authorities, including required legislative changes, to ensure security and inspection processes that are comparable to those of the receiving country to the extent feasible and to the extent permitted under the host country's constitutional framework.


· The two Governments will work to achieve comparable outcomes whether in the land preclearance operating environment or the regular border environment, by deepening our cooperation on the investigative and enforcement fronts.

· The two Governments will explore the option of designating a specific Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET) to support land preclearance activities.

6. The land preclearance model will be easily adaptable to different border crossings. The two countries will examine optimal solutions for addressing local considerations such as geographic constraints.

___________________________________

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

________________________________

SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

MCLELLAN AND RIDGE AGREE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH LAND PRECLEARANCE PILOTS


Detroit, December 17, 2004 - On the 3rd anniversary of the signing of the Canada United States Smart Border Declaration, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge today released the fifth Smart Border Action Plan Status Report. Highlights of the significant progress made include:

· issuance of a framework to put land preclearance in place at the Buffalo-Fort Erie Peace Bridge and at one other border crossing. The preclearance pilot at the Peace Bridge would involve the re-location of all U.S. primary and secondary border operations for both commercial and passenger traffic from Buffalo to Fort Erie. At the second pilot site, Canadian border functions will be moved to the U.S. side of the border, with the two Governments actively exploring crossings where this may be suitable, such as the Thousand Islands Bridge or Queenston-Lewiston;

· the finalization of the Canadian and American regulations for the Safe Third Country Agreement. Implementation of the Agreement at the Canada United States land border will follow shortly;

· the decision to expand U.S. preclearance facilities to the Halifax International Airport as soon as the construction of the necessary infrastructure is completed; and

· the expansion of the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program to seven new high volume commercial crossings along the land border.

"Our two Governments have heard the call for urgent implementation of land preclearance from American and Canadian stakeholders alike. We are responding today by issuing a framework to put preclearance in place at the Peace Bridge and at another location along the land border. This initiative is a true testimony of how our two countries are working together to create a more modern, secure and efficient border," said Secretary Ridge.

Secretary Ridge and Deputy Prime Minister McLellan also met with border stakeholders from the Windsor-Detroit region today to discuss the unique challenges of the Windsor Detroit Gateway. The Ambassador Bridge and the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel is a critical link in Canada-U.S. trade, and were used by over 13.4 million cars and 1.8 million commercial vehicles in 2003-2004. It is a matter of national and economic security to both countries that there be sufficient capacity to accommodate our expanding trade at these crossings of international importance.

"We are making progress at improving flows across the Windsor-Detroit Gateway, and we are prepared to do more," said Deputy Prime Minister McLellan. "Secretary Ridge and I today met today with bridge, tunnel and ferry operators, and together we have committed to reduce transit times across the Windsor-Detroit Gateway by an additional 25% over the next year."

"The 25% Challenge is an ambitious and an achievable goal. We are committed to providing the leadership and the investments necessary to improving flows through this critical trade corridor," said Secretary Ridge.

In recognition of the critical need to make additional resources available at the busiest land border crossing between Canada and the U.S., Minister McLellan added that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will begin immediately hiring an additional 30 officers. This move will increase capacity to process commercial traffic at Windsor by approximately 20%.

"Hiring more officers demonstrates the Government of Canada's commitment to reducing border wait times," said Minister McLellan. "It will also enable the CBSA to optimize usage of the current infrastructure in Windsor. The community, industry and our two economies will all benefit as a result."

Finally, Deputy Prime Minister McLellan and Secretary Ridge tasked officials to finalize the development of a next generation Smart Borders agenda, as committed to by Prime Minister Martin and President Bush in the New Partnership in North America joint statement, released following their meeting in Ottawa on November 30, 2004.


- 30 -
For more information:

Alex Swann DHS Press Office
Director of Communications (202) 282-8010
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
(613) 991-2924

Joint Canada-U.S. Framework for Land Preclearance Pilots


The Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America committed to building a more secure, efficient and modern border in signing the Smart Border Declaration. Substantial progress has been made in implementing the associated Action Plan. At the heart of the Smart Borders process is the recognition that public security and economic security can be achieved simultaneously and are mutually reinforcing. Preclearance at the land border is an excellent example of how the United States of America and Canada can advance the dual objectives of security and facilitation.

In signing the present framework, both Governments commit to move forward with land preclearance at the Buffalo-Fort Erie Peace Bridge. This preclearance pilot would involve the re-location of all U.S. primary and secondary border operations for both commercial and passenger traffic from Buffalo to Fort Erie. The Governments also commit to move forward to re-locate Canadian border inspection functions to the U.S. side of the border at a different location and are actively exploring crossings where this may be suitable, such as the Thousand Islands Bridge or Queenston-Lewiston.

The following policy principles will guide the negotiation of an agreement.

1. Both security and trade facilitation will be enhanced while minimizing adverse impacts on the surrounding community.

2. Land preclearance will be reciprocal, in that it will be capable of accommodating U.S. officials operating on Canadian soil as well as Canadian officials operating on U.S. soil.

3. The security of preclearance officials will be ensured.

4. Consistency with the constitutional and legal frameworks of the host country, where the preclearance area is located.

5. Expansion of the existing preclearance authorities, including required legislative changes, to ensure security and inspection processes that are comparable to those of the receiving country to the extent feasible and to the extent permitted under the host country's constitutional framework.

· The two Governments will work to achieve comparable outcomes whether in the land preclearance operating environment or the regular border environment, by deepening our cooperation on the investigative and enforcement fronts.

· The two Governments will explore the option of designating a specific Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET) to support land preclearance activities.

6. The land preclearance model will be easily adaptable to different border crossings. The two countries will examine optimal solutions for addressing local considerations such as geographic constraints.


___________________________________

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

________________________________

SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA