Canada and the United States announced the official launch of the Prince Rupert pilot project that will facilitate greater trade and strengthen cargo security at the Canada-U.S. border as part of the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy in the Beyond the Border Action Plan. Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, made the announcement today in Vancouver with Jim Nealon, Deputy Chief of Mission from the United States Embassy and Anne Callaghan, U.S. Consul General.

“The Canada-U.S. relationship is one of the world’s greatest trade success stories and we are working together not just at the border, but beyond the border, to increase our shared prosperity,” said Minister Fast. “Accelerating the movement of secure cargo between our two countries by removing red tape and other unnecessary barriers will contribute to job creation, strong economic growth and greater long-term prosperity for hard-working Canadians and their families.”

The pilot project, in operation since October 1, 2012, is located at the port of Prince Rupert and focuses on marine cargo. It is based on a harmonized approach developed by Canada and the United States which allows for the screening of inbound cargo arriving from offshore. As a result, there is increased security and the expedited movement of secure cargo across the Canada-U.S. border under the principle of “cleared once, accepted twice”. This pilot is the first of a number of pilots which will be undertaken by Canada and the U.S. to shape and inform the implementation of the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy. The strategy is part of the Beyond the Border Action Plan announced by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama on December 7, 2011.

“The pilots that will be implemented under the Integrated Cargo Security Strategy are key to the ongoing efforts to facilitate legitimate trade while still maintaining our security mission at the border,” said U.S. Consul General Anne Callaghan. “Harmonization of the cargo screening processes between the United States and Canada should result in a more efficient and secured supply chain and increased competitive economic posture.” Recognizing the benefits of ensuring that trade flows efficiently between Canada and the U.S. while also maintaining high security standards, this project is supported by industry and business groups in Canada.

“The Beyond the Border pilot will introduce efficiencies in cross-border cargo movements, further enhancing Canadian commerce with our largest trading partner, said Don Krusel, President and CEO of Prince Rupert Port Authority.” And as the site of one of the two Canadian pilot projects, we anticipate building on the Port’s reputation as a world-class trade gateway.”

Canada and the United States enjoy the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world, with two-way trade in goods and services reaching almost $709 billion last year.