Thank you very much, Mr. Picard.
The border between Canada and the United States is a remarkable institution. It's not without controversy sometimes, or difficulties, and we should always work very hard to reduce those controversies and difficulties to make the border work even better.
As I mentioned in my remarks, there are 400,000 people who go back and forth across that border every single day. In addition to that, there's $2.5 billion in trade, two-way trade, that goes back and forth across that border every single day. That is a huge and valuable relationship. It is, I think it's fair to say, the longest non-militarized, most successful boundary line in the history of the world. It works for Canada, it works for the United States, and it needs to be safe and secure. It also needs to be efficient and expeditious.
Pre-clearance is one of the tools by which we can accomplish all of those objectives: safe, secure, efficient, and expeditious. We have it at eight airports at the moment for air travel moving south into the United States. What this agreement and this legislation seeks to achieve is to make it available in all modes of transportation, not just air, but make it available at a great many more venues and locations across the country, and make it available in both directions.
While our focus has always been on passenger travel, I think you're touching on one of the great potentials here, and that is the expansion of pre-clearance to include cargo where, instead of waiting in some of those long lineups with big trucks trying to get across the bridges into the United States when there's a lineup at the clearance point, you could actually envision a situation where the goods are loaded onto the truck at the plant or the factory, the truck is inspected at that point and sealed, and then, once it has pre-cleared at the factory, it can just go across the border without any further examination. It will take some time to develop that kind of system, but the agreement and this legislation contemplates that, enhancing the cross-border trade.
I'm very pleased to have heard Secretary Kelly, in his appearance before a congressional committee a few weeks ago, saying that he thought the Canadian border was a good example of a situation that was working properly, and he wanted to see that border become thinner, not thicker. He had some very complimentary words about Canada, Canadians, the border service operation, and so forth. That's a positive thing.
I wouldn't want to leave the impression that pre-clearance in cargo can be achieved simply. It's a big project to undertake, but the legislation and the agreement behind it allow for that eventuality to come about.