F.A.S.T. Free and Secure Trade – What Is It?

The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a joint Canada–United States initiative involving the Canada Border Services Agency and the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

FAST supports moving pre-approved eligible goods across the border quickly and verifying trade compliance away from the border.

It is a commercial process offered to pre-approved importers, carriers, and registered drivers. Shipments for approved companies, transported by approved carriers using registered drivers, will be cleared into either country with greater speed and certainty, and at a reduced cost of compliance.

In Canada, FAST builds on the Customs Self Assessment (CSA) program and its principles of pre-approval and self-assessment, as well as on the increased security measures under the Partners in Protection (PIP) program.

FAST participants must meet the requirements of Canada’s PIP program or the United States Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program. As part of these programs, companies must adopt and implement security procedures to be compatible with guidelines set by both the CBSA and CBP.

What are the Benefits of the FAST Program?

FAST, which is based on sound risk management techniques, focuses on greater speed and certainty at the border and reduces the cost of compliance by:

• Reducing the information requirements for customs/border clearance;
• Eliminating the need for importers to transmit data for each transaction;
• Dedicating lanes for FAST clearances;
• Reducing the rate of border examinations;
• Verifying trade compliance away from the border;
• Streamlining accounting and payment processes for all goods imported by approved importers (in Canada only).

Who is Eligible to Apply?

There are three major participant groups who are eligible for FAST – importers, carriers and drivers. FAST will be available to those participants who have a demonstrated history of compliance with all relevant legislation and regulations, and have acceptable books, records and audit trails.