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N.E., Canada Leaders: Loosen Border

August 27, 2002

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QUEBEC (AP) _ Governors from New England states and premiers of eastern Canadian provinces have called for a smoother flow of goods across the U.S.-Canadian border despite increased security after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Competing for global markets must be a priority for the U.S.-Canada trade partnership, the world’s largest at more than $1 billion a day, the governors and premiers said Monday, the first day of their annual two-day talks.

Despite the security concerns of the post-Sept. 11 era, they said, speeding up traffic across the border should be a priority.

A resolution they adopted expressed sympathy for Sept. 11 victims and called for further talks to boost commerce and improve security.

Maine Gov. Angus S. King said ``it makes no sense″ that people can travel without a border check between France and Germany, who were war rivals this century, while the border between the United States and Canada requires check points.

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley have been working on a 30-point ``smart border″ agreement intended to speed traffic while raising security.

The agreement, which could be completed by the end of the year, is expected to include high-tech solutions such as cargo monitors for trucks and trains that would allow them to cross the border without stopping. Iris scanning devices and other technology also are coming to border points.

Other issues on the agenda include the development of energy markets, environmental cooperation and climate change.

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