March 16, 2015 / 1:53 PM / 4 years ago

U.S., Canada set to sign agreement on customs clearing

Vehicles stop at customs booths while entering the United States from the tunnel coming under the Detroit river from Windsor, Ontario in downtown Detroit, Michigan March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and Canada will sign an agreement on Monday to create a pre-clearance process for customs screening in their countries, the U.S Department of Homeland Security said.

The agreement is part of a joint initiative begun in 2011 intended address security threats involving the countries’ shared border, the longest in the world, while also clearing the way for smoother trade and travel.

Pre-clearance allows U.S. customs officers stationed in other countries to decide if travelers and their baggage can be permitted into the United States. That alleviates the crush of people attempting to clear customs after arrival.

The pre-clearance process is already in place at eight Canadian airports in Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg, according to the department.

According to the plan for the joint initiative, known as “Beyond the Border,” a pre-clearance agreement was supposed to be finished more than two years ago in 2012.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney will sign the agreement in a ceremony in Washington later on Monday, according to the department.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Susan Heavey

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