Canadian and US businesses seek clarification from Congress on reopening land borders – National – .

Ambassador – National – .

A group of US and Canadian business leaders are lobbying Congress for a plan to ease restrictions on the land border with Canada.

The group, led by the North American Competitiveness Strategy, wants senior leaders in Congress to demand a detailed strategy from the Department of Homeland Security.

Specifically, the coalition is concerned about what it calls “huge delays” as border officials struggle to process the vaccination status and COVID-19 test results of inbound travelers.

Their letter to senior members of Congress asks the department to explain how it plans to deal with an influx of visitors from Canada when the travel ban is finally relaxed.

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“We understand the need to protect public health and believe the United States can do so while relaxing restrictions at the land border,” the letter said.

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However, US Customs and Border Protection “does not appear to have a plan in place to execute a safe reopening without causing huge delays at land ports of entry.”

The letter is addressed to the chairs and senior members of the Senate and House committees and subcommittees on homeland security, as well as to members of several key groups in the Canada-US caucus.

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Its signatories include organizations focused on cross-border trade and travel, including the Canada-US Business Association, the Border Trade Alliance, and the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents will be allowed entry into Canada starting Monday. The United States, however – citing concerns about the Delta variant – extended its own restrictions on land crossings until August 21.

And while he didn’t specifically mention Canada, Jeff Zients, who oversees the White House’s COVID-19 response, suggested Thursday that the United States is in no rush to ease its current limits on travel. incoming.

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“Given where we are today? on the prevalence of the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point, ”Zients said at a press conference.

Interagency task forces created by the White House to examine the issue of international travel are actively exploring how best to allow travel resumption when the time comes, he added, including whether to require proof of vaccination.

“Part of this planning is a phased approach where foreign nationals traveling to the United States may _ there is still political work going on here _ may need some type of vaccine requirement,” Zients said.

“It’s not a decision at this point; it is one of the avenues that is being examined and considered. But there are alternative routes that are being considered at the same time. ‘

© 2021 The Canadian Press


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