U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced this week that their business resumption plans have been updated to reflect the analysis of a joint U.S.-Canada-trade exercise conducted last month in Detroit.
CBP, along with its Canadian counterpart the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and local law enforcement representatives met with trade leaders in late July to discuss potential steps the governments and private sectors would take to keep trade moving in the event of a disaster or emergency situation.
This exercise brought together approximately 70 individuals from CBP, CBSA, local law enforcement, emergency responders and trade representatives to discuss hypothetical emergency scenarios and coordination, and walk through steps that each might take to ensure business resumption and trade facilitation.
“We are committed to securing international trade, and an important component of our mission is effectively reacting in emergency situations,” said Commissioner W. Ralph Basham.
“This exercise allowed both operational experts and leaders from government and the private sector to discuss and understand their roles should such an incident occur. We all greatly value this preparation and partnership.”
“Making sure that we have protocols in place with our U.S. partners and the private sector in the event of a significant incident is mutually beneficial to our two countries,” said Canada Border Services Agency President Alain Jolicoeur.
“With about $1.9 billion in cross-border trade each day, business resumption plans will help increase the safety and efficiency of our border and ensure the free flow of legitimate travelers and commerce across our shared border.”
Discussion topics included logistics, operational decisions and impacts, communications between and among agencies as well as with the media, and potential timeframes for reconstituting trade in the event of an incident.
Working through the exercise scenarios helped fine-tune the joint response plans between the two countries.
James Phillips with General Motors said, “General Motors greatly appreciated the opportunity to participate in the business resumption exercise. It is very encouraging that the customs agencies in the US and Canada are working together and requesting input from the various government and trade participants. We believe that the exercise in July was a great opportunity to identify key issues and discuss possible solutions. Hopefully these types of exercises will continue as they help all parties be better prepared to take action that can help mitigate the impact of a border incident.”
In the days following 9/11, border operations on the northern and southern borders were severely impacted.
This exercise represents tangible progress in risk-assessment and preventing such an extreme impact.
It is also a key component of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, a tri-lateral agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico signed in 2005 to help develop a common approach to protecting North America from external threats while simultaneously facilitating the movement of legitimate trade and people across our borders.
“We are committed to securing our borders and facilitating legitimate trade and travel, and a key part of that is maintaining open channels of dialogue with other governments and community leaders.” Commissioner Basham said.
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