USDA fees postponed for Canadian truckers

| 11/20/2006

Canadian truckers who are crossing the border into the U.S. won't have to pay a new, special fee until March 1 of next year.

The fees - which are to pay for agricultural inspections - were originally scheduled to go into effect this Friday, Nov. 24.

However, Today's Trucking reports that once the fees are in place, they will cost truckers $5.25 per crossing, or a flat rate of $105 a year.

All Canadian trucks will be required to pay the fees, regardless of whether they're hauling agricultural products.

The fees don't just apply to freight.

According to information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "effective Jan. 1, 2007, air passengers arriving in the United States from Canada will no longer be exempt from the international air passenger user fee (of $5). Effective March 1, 2007, the remaining provisions of the rule will take effect, including the removal of the user fee exemption for all commercial conveyances entering the United States from Canada."

Canada, which Reuters reported is the United States' biggest trading partner, has been the only country exempt from the fees for 15 years. Many Canadian officials have protested the U.S. move to impose the fees.

"Recent inspections along the U.S.-Canadian border resulted in numerous interceptions of prohibited fruits and vegetables, originating from regions other than Canada. These products pose a risk of introducing plant pests into the United States," stated a press release from the USDA.

Canadian officials, however, told Reuters the U.S. is exaggerating the threat and could simply be trying to squeeze revenue out of a booming trade relationship that tops $1 billion a day in two-way commerce.