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Chamber visits Washington and California border crossings.

Sarah Hubbard, Chamber vice president of Government Relations, joined representatives of Canadian Consulates from across the United States and leading supply chain efficiency advocates for tours of the border operations at Blaine, WA and San Ysidro, CA. While touring the facilities, the group was able to view firsthand the positive results gained from years of advocacy work on behalf of businesses and individuals who cross these borders.

"The FAST (Free and Secure Trade) Program really helped facilitate quicker passage across the border, both at the northern and southern crossings," said Hubbard, "but concerns with its cost and implementation remain for our region."

The FAST and C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) programs are intended to move goods quickly and securely across the border, but large investments are required to satisfy the background checks and certification processes. Unfortunately, the very truck drivers who complied with the laws and became C-TPAT certified are now targeted by drug dealers because of the impression that they will be able to cross the border more quickly and with less scrutiny. Further inspections are often required to ensure no drugs are crossing the border, which slows down the process meant to improve efficiencies.

At the southern border, "Just in Time" trucking remains a challenge due to the unpredictable namre of liming crossings and the extreme backlogs that occur.

"Now more than ever, Michigan needs to capitalize on its unique positioning and efficient system implemented by our border crossing operators," said Hubbard. "We can continue to be leaders in efforts to reduce wait, times and increase efficiencies that will allow businesses in our region to compete nationally and globally."

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Title Annotation:VOTE4BIZ
Date:Apr 1, 2007
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