Pre-Clearing Canadian Customs in US May Be Available Soon for Canadians

Canada could see the first-ever customs facility inside the United States either at Florida or Arizona, as Canada seeks to modernize its clearing process.

For more than half a century, anyone who has traveled out of Toronto Pearson International Airport has had to clear United States customs before boarding their flight heading south. This time, it's the other way around. If the plan comes to fruition, anyone traveling from certain American airports will be required to clear Canadian customers first in the United States before flying north of the border.

The progression towards the United States having a more fluid border with Canada comes after repeated calls from the United States President Donald Trump to increase border restrictions.

According to one Canadian official at the Wilson Center's conference, in 2010, the wait-time in borders costs Canada somewhere between one and two per cent of its GDP. That number would now be higher, which means that the economic impact of having pre-clearance facilities in the United States could have nothing but positive benefits for both countries.

Currently, there are pilot projects in the train systems of both B.C and Montreal where passengers can clear customs at their ports of departure instead of having to clear at the border saving them a lot of time.

Ultimately, the goal of establishing pre-clearing Canadian customs in the United States is to establish an efficient system for cross-border travel. However, this will require proper coordination of regulatory standards for both countries, which may end up being the most complicated part of the process.

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