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Canada Hopes to Expand Smart Border Program to Include Agrifood Products

by 5m Editor
16 August 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1580. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1580

The Canadian government is hoping elements of the Smart Border program can be used to speed up the movement of Canadian food products into the US.

Under the new US Bioterrorism Preparedness Act processors that export food or feed products to the US must register with the US Food and Drug Administration and shippers must provide prior notification of the arrival of goods at US border points.

Agriculture and Agrifood Canada Senior Trade Policy Analyst David Cox says, although full enforcement began Friday, FDA has extended its education and compliance awareness period.

"It will be fully enforcing the regulations but, when you submit prior notice it's entered into a database.

What would have happened is, if you've entered in information incorrectly, you would not have been able to get a prior notice through.

What the FDA is doing now is, where some of the data fields they have concerns about non-compliance because of misinformation or things that were out of the control of the exporter or the system wasn't set up properly, they're allowing that information to slip through the system.

That allows exporters to receive a prior notice confirmation number and therefor they can get through the border.

In the event that there's questions at the border, errors in those data fields won't result in fines or a refusal at the border.

In the meantime we're continuing to make representations with the FDA and other agencies in the United States government.

Our goal is to have agriculture and agrifood products covered under the Smart Border program that was agreed to a few years back between the prime minister and the president.

In effect our objective is to have programs in place in which low risk traffic can get across the border in an expedited fashion so that border authorities are focusing on higher risk traffic."

Cox says bringing agriculture and food products into the Smart Border program would reduce the volume of information required by FDA, advance notice required before arrival at the border and waiting times at the border.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor