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Cablegate: Implementing the Aviation Pre-Clearance Agreement

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS OTTAWA 000648

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAN,EB/TRA,L
WHITE HOUSE FOR HOMELAND SECURITY COUNCIL
PASS DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
CUSTOMS (DHS) FOR JOE O'GORMAN
INS (DHS) FOR ELIZABETH TISDALE
TSA FOR SUSAN WILLIAMS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ASEC EAIR CA
SUBJECT: IMPLEMENTING THE AVIATION PRE-CLEARANCE AGREEMENT
WITH CANADA


1. This is an action request. Action request in paragraph 5.

2. After lengthy negotiations, late last year the U.S. and
Canada concluded an aviation preclearance agreement
that,among other items, provides increased protection for
Department of Homeland Security inspection officers (formerly
Customs,INS,and APHIS officers) working at Canadian airports.
At the request of the U.S., the agreement required that the
U.S. grant reciprocity to Canada before it could be brought
into force. We understand the provision providing
reciprocity was part of the omnibus appropriations bill which
became law in February, and that the only formal step
required to bring the agreement into force is an exchange of
notes between the sides.

3. Canadian Foreign Minister Graham wrote to Ambassador
Cellucci in January expressing the GOC's desire to bring the
agreement into force as soon as the reciprocity provision
became law (text below). A DFAIT official, Bruce Levy, told
us March 4 that Canada's Customs and Immigration Ministries
and their U.S. counterparts were developing Standard
Operating Procedures (SOPS) related to the agreement. Levy
said it was his understanding that completion of the SOPS was
not requireed to bring the agreement into force, but that the
SOPS were near completion.

4. Levy also said that the GOC must complete a couple of
formal, internal steps in order to exchange notes that
establish the date the agreement goes into force. The GOC
would like to know USG thinking on an appropriate date so
that it can take these internal steps. We note that Secretary
Ridge and Deputy Prime Minister Manley are expected to meet
in late March or early April. It might be appropriate to
have the agreement go into force in connection with this
meeting.

5. Action Request: Please inform us of desired date for new
aviation preclearance agreement with Canada to enter into
force so we can provide this to the GOC.

6. Letter from Foreign Minister Graham to Ambassador
Cellucci:


January 22,2003

Excellency:

I have the honor to inform you that the training of U.S.
Preclearance Officers to work under the Air Transport
Preclearance Agreement was completed by Canada Customs and
Revenue Agency staff on December 13, 2002. Canada is now
prepared for the exchange of notes that will bring the
Agreement into force.

It is my understanding that your government is not yet in
a position to implement the Agreement, as the necessary
legislation to allow for full reciprocity did not pass during
the last Congressional session. You and U.S. Customs
Commissioner Bonner have indicated that this issue is a
priority for you. In light of the time and energy our
governments have invested in this file, I would urge you to
encourage your Administration to move quickly in order for
the exchange of notes to proceed.

Because of their involvement in this file, I have taken
the liberty of sending copies of my letter to the Deputy
Prime Minister and the Ministers of Transport and Citizenship
and Immigration.

Sincerely,
William Graham

End text of letter
KELLY

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