Trade data system to speed imports

Trucks and other carriers will be able to clear their cargo, vehicle and

crew before arriving at the U.S.-Canada border using a new electronic trade

data system, according to an agreement signed Thursday.

The International Trade Data System is slated for its first deployment

in Buffalo, N.Y., next year.

The Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

signed an interagency agreement Thursday with the ITDS board of directors

to participate in the system at federal ports of entry in Buffalo in 2001.

The ITDS board is led by the U.S. International Trade Commission and

includes federal agencies that collect, analyze or form policy concerning

trade data.

The pilot program in Buffalo is the first planned use of ITDS, which

is part of Vice President Al Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing

Government to streamline government processes.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Food and Drug Administration

and the U.S. Customs Service also will participate in the Buffalo-based

pilot.

The Customs Service is leading development of ITDS, which will be consistent

with Customs' national architecture and share its systems for communicating

with the border crossing.

ITDS interfaces with government agency systems and enables advance filing

by traders and motor carriers to help federal inspectors quickly review

a truck and driver's compliance with federal requirements before entering

the United States.

When fully developed during the next five to six years, ITDS will be

the public and interagency interface for all international trade and transportation

transactions needed to move cargo into or out of the United States, according

to a DOT statement.

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