BESTT on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

“BESTT is an international coalition of businesses and trade associations from across the United States and Canada who share a common concern about the ramifications of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Our goal is to raise awareness of the important cultural and fiscal ties that exist across the 5,500 mile long border, and to help ensure public policies that promote these ties, while still addressing the legitimate security concerns of both countries.”

Well, June is fast approaching and this means that anyone entering the United States from Canada or elsewhere must present:

  • a passport;
  • a NEXUS card;
  • a FAST card; or
  • an EDL or EIC from a province or territory where a U.S.-approved EDL/EIC program has been implemented.

Closely watching the WHTI is a group called the Business for Better Economic Security for Tourism and Trade. Why because the Canada-U. S. border is like a membrane, a malleable and porous divide where billions of dollars in goods and services are transferred each year. In addition to the monetary value of the border millions of people pass across every year as well: tourists, business visitors, workers and many other foreign nationals who contribute to economy of both nations.

The meeting points of this vast transference:

  • Border crossings across the 49th parallel
  • Ferry systems on both coasts and inland waterways.
  • Airports

These ports-of-entry account for $1.2 billion dollars a day in trade and this supports 5.2 million jobs.

BESTT Position

The BESTT coalition supports secure border crossing document
solutions that:

•        Acknowledge and address the economic impact of any
proposed solution
•        Include a multi-lateral approach to border management
processes
•        Fund extensive marketing and public awareness efforts
•        Provide a common implementation date for all types of
crossings
•        Describe a clear standard for crossing
•        Are inexpensive and easily accessible
•        Addresses the unique need for students and children, aged
sixteen and under, to be able to cross the border at a
nominal cost.

Is BESTT Being Heard?

BESTT means well and I think on a grass-roots level they are being heard. However, will a new administration in the Washington care about what they think now that the economy is the big issue? Well, BESTT is all about the economy and making it work faster with America’s trading partners, especially Canada. And any organization that keeps this lucrative and strategic relationship on the frontburner is worth an applause.

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