Fast Express

Fast Express

Free and Secure Trade (FAST)

The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a Border Accord Initiative between the United States, Mexico, and Canada designed to ensure security and safety while enhancing the economic prosperity of each country. In developing this program, Mexico, Canada and the United States have agreed to coordinate, to the maximum extent possible, their commercial processes for clearance of commercial shipments at the border. This will promote free and secure trade by using common risk-management principles, supply chain security, industry partnership, and advanced technology to improve the efficiency of screening and clearing commercial traffic at shared borders.

Eligibility for the FAST program requires participants (carrier, drivers, importers, and southern border manufacturers) to submit an application, agreement, and security profile depending on their role in the Customs and Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and FAST programs. (FAST is a benefit of participation in C-TPAT and is not a stand-alone program.) The FAST program allows known low-risk participants to receive expedited border processing. This enables U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to redirect security efforts and inspections where they are needed most - on commerce that is high risk, or unknown risk - while ensuring the movement of legitimate, low-risk commerce.

When decisions are made to elevate the national threat level, all CBP personnel must be cognizant of the heightened threat of terrorism as well a mandated increase in examinations of cargo and conveyances. Elevated alert levels should have no adverse impact on FAST processing. While other conveyances and cargo will be subject to a greater degree of inspection, FAST shipments are considered known low risk. As such, their processing should continue under normal guidelines during heightened alert levels.

U.S. FAST participation requirements

FAST is a clearance process for known low-risk shipments. A shipment must have the following three components in order to use the FAST lane into the U.S.: 1) a C-TPAT approved carrier, 2) carrying qualifying goods from a C-TPAT approved importer with 3) a driver in the possession of a valid FAST Commercial Driver Registration ID Card.

Canadian FAST participation requirements

Unlike Mexico's Customs, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has set up a parallel FAST program for entrance into Canada. A shipment must have the following three components in order to use the FAST lane into Canada: 1) a Partners in Protection (PIP) approved carrier, 2) carrying qualifying goods from a PIP approved importer with 3) a driver in the possession of a valid FAST Commercial Driver Registration ID Card. PIP is similar in nature to C-TPAT, and anyone wishing to enter the U.S. and Canada must participate in both programs for expedited shipments.

Benefits of FAST

The FAST program is voluntary. The benefits for those that apply and are accepted into the FAST program include:

  • Dedicated lanes (where available) for greater speed and efficiency in the clearance of FAST Trans-border shipments;
  • Reduced number of examinations for continued compliance with Customs FAST requirements as well secondary priority processing;
  • A strong and ongoing partnership with the Canadian Partners in Protection (PIP) and Customs (C-TPAT) administrations;
  • Enhanced supply chain security and safety while protecting the economic prosperity of the United States, Mexico and Canada and,
  • For carrier participants, the knowledge that they are transporting shipments for a C-TPAT approved importer, and on the southern border, a C-TPAT manufacturer.

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