Today the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the allocation of 2,000 additional officers including staffing increases at Land Ports of Entry at Champlain and Alexandria Bay. Increasing these allocations makes trade and travel across the northern border easier and more secure, supporting job growth and tourism throughout northern New York. The exact number of officers to be allocated to these land ports is not yet known.
"Increasing Canadian trade and tourism is vital to local job creation and economic development, especially along our northern border," Rep. Bill Owens said. "Improving these border services supports the growth of business partnerships that increase Canadian investment in our region and provides our local businesses with greater access to the Canadian marketplace, growing jobs and local economies throughout the region."
This allocation is made possible by the Fiscal Year 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which Congressman Owens, as a Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, advocated for the inclusion of greater trade-facilitating resources for New York and our northern border with Canada. CBP estimates that the greater trade volume enabled by each increase of 33 CBP officers supports as many as 1,000 American jobs.
As co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus, Rep. Owens has long been a strong advocate of trade facilitation. His recent efforts include advocating for $105M in fiscal year 2015 appropriations for the Alexandria Bay Port of Entry facility. This facility is under-equipped to handle the hundreds of thousands of trucks, buses and passenger vehicles that pass through each year, creating long lines of idling vehicles that place an excessive burden on infrastructure and discourage commerce and tourism.
While trade with Canada supports nearly 600,000 jobs in New York and more than eight million jobs across the U.S., delays at our nation's land ports cost an estimated 26,000 jobs and $18 billion in lost economic output each year. Improving the Alexandria Bay facility would turn these job and economic losses into gains for our local communities.
Last Friday, March 28th, Congressman Owens toured the Champlain Port of Entry to view their Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) system, an important technology in streamlining the submission and approval of regulatory paperwork by American businesses that rely on efficient border operations. WPTZ covered the visit.