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Canadian government must achieve border agreement with the US that has bottom-line benefits for industry

Published by CME Webmaster on August 29, 2011

The report issued today by the Government of Canada on the results of its public consultations with respect to Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness now needs to be translated into an agreement with the United States leading to practical actions and timelines with real, bottom line benefits for those industries whose competitiveness depends on an efficiently operating border, says Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).  

“Since the launch of this initiative, CME has been working closely with our members and governments on both sides of the border to develop a comprehensive and aggressive plan that will simplify the Canada-US business relationship for integrated domestic industries,” says Jayson Myers, CME’s President & CEO.  “From the outset, we have made it clear that the need to reduce the high transactional burden and the high cost of regulatory compliance currently placed on industries that ship products across the border on a regular basis is of the highest priority."

To that end, CME has worked with Businesses for Better Borders (B3) and the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, to develop a detailed plan for perimeter security and economic competitiveness that has the support of 25 Canadian and US associations. The plan was released on May 30, 2011. Many of its recommendations are contained in the report released today. CME's full set of recommendations for both the RCC and BBWG is available here.

"We are pleased with the general direction of this interim report." added Myers. "However, what is critical now is that the government achieves an agreement with the US that meets the originally stated objective -- increase the competitiveness of our industries. This must include a significant reduction in transactional reporting requirements for qualified companies as well as easing the burden on business travelers."

Canada and the US don't only trade with each other, we build things together. Roughly 50 per cent of all Canada-US trade is intra-company or part of an integrated supply chain. With every crossing, companies must provide shipment data, which adds significant costs to the production of almost everything build in North America. This is a cost that foreign competitors don't face that makes it difficult to compete domestically and internationally.

Myers continued, "Previous efforts at simplifying our border operations and regulatory harmonization never met the originally stated objectives. Companies have invested heavily in compliance and security programs, only to have those programs inadequately supported by governments, undermining their bottom line benefits. Today, with the challenges facing industry, including increased global competition, continued protectionism in foreign markets, rising input and commodity costs and a high Canadian dollar, failure to meet our stated objectives this time cannot be an option. The government must deliver an agreement with the US that meets the needs of industry, as detailed in our action plan."

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