"It's a good time to be in North Dakota, we all know that, and it's a good time to promote trade," said Andy Peterson, chairman of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce.

Mary Delaquis, director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Pembina, and Yvonne Bremault, director of the Canadian Border Services Agency in Emerson, Manitoba, said they're working to make the border experience better for both truckers and travelers.

Canada's eManifest program eventually will allow carriers to electronically transmit cargo data before reaching the border, similar to the Automated Commercial Environment, or ACE, system in the U.S.

"This will improve the ability to identify and mitigate threats to Canada while increasing the speed of shipments across the border," Bremault said.

Delaquis highlighted a federal program that has paid for new or improved facilities at all but two of North Dakota's border stations.

"These new facilities allow us to do our jobs better and quicker," she said. "I'm adamant that if you arrive in Antler, N.D., or Neche, N.D., or way out there in Noonan, N.D., when you arrive, it's going to be a consistent approach."

Timothy Purdon, U.S. attorney for North Dakota, said the two countries are sharing information like never before. He highlighted a demonstration on complex communication technology that took place at a meeting last week in Seattle.

"I sat in a room where a (U.S.) border patrol officer took the radio off his belt and within a matter of minutes the person he was talking to was a Mountie, an RMCP employee, on the other side of the border south of Vancouver," Purdon said. "You had a bunch of lawyers and law enforcement officers just giddy about someone talking on a radio."

Purdon said the goal is to keep the border "open for trade, but closed for crime."

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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