For Immediate Release
Official statement on U.S.-Canada “Beyond the Border” Agreement: Bruce Agnew, director, Cascadia Center for Regional Development
“By eliminating duplicative inspection functions and increasing the speed of travel between Canada and the U.S., the Beyond the Border accord serves as a long-awaited landmark agreement. We commend not only Prime Minister Harper and President Obama, but also the state of Washington’s congressional delegation, which pushed for a provision in the 2008 Amtrak reauthorization calling for an assessment of how to streamline the border inspection process. The subsequent Amtrak report in 2009 provided the guidance on how to move forward as established in the Beyond the Border accord.
By December 2012, with pre-clearance a reality, the region will benefit from one – instead of two – inspections, meaning a faster and more efficient train travel experience. The decision is also better for the inspection officers who will be able to consolidate their efforts in Blaine, Wash., to one central location in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In conjunction with the Canada Border Services Agency’s decision in August to permanently waive the inspection fee, the Beyond the Border accord points to a brighter future for the Amtrak Cascades service. Going forward, Cascadia Center will continue to advocate for a third roundtrip train between Seattle, Wash., and Vancouver, British Columbia, and will encourage Washington state to pursue plans for additional service. The evidence shows clearly that more trains will mean more ridership. And that means greater interconnectedness for the region.”
The official language relating to pre-clearance is found on page 14 of the agreement: “CBP will conduct full pre-clearance of travelers and accompanying goods at Vancouver, B.C. for passenger rail and cruise ship traffic destined to the United States. Negotiations to this end will be completed by the end of 2012.” The accord can be found here.