OTTAWA, Ont. — Canadian Trucking Alliance chief David Bradley has been shouting from the rooftops about the need to improve the flow of goods across the Canada/US border, and now it appears he has some powerful allies.
The Canadian and US Chambers of Commerce released a joint report yesterday called Finding the Balance: Shared Border of the Future which offers specific recommendations to reduce border costs while at the same time increasing security.
“Our countries share this common border and must work together to improve the flow of trade and people,” said Tom Donohue, president and CEO, of the US Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses rely on an efficient, predictable border to ensure profitability and growth. For the world’s largest trading partnership to expand during the recession, cooperation is essential.”
Canadian chamber president and CEO Perrin Beatty added “We need to work together to get our countries out from this global economic downturn. We are partners. Partners in business, partners in security and partners in recovery.”
The report, which was supported by 47 business groups, suggests: streamlining border wait time; implementing trusted shipper programs to enhance supply chain security without imposing a one-size-fits-all regulatory burden on businesses; enacting the NEXUS program to expedite clearance for one million low-risk travellers; offering pre-clearance of goods and people beyond the currently defined ‘border’ area; and providing funding for a single electronic filing system.
The chambers pointed out the Canada/US border facilitates the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world with $1.6 billion in two-way trade crossing the border every day. Of the 50 US states, 37 count Canada as their largest export market. And more than three million Canadian jobs and 7.1 million US jobs rely on cross-border trade, according to the report.
“The business community is looking for action from both governments to fix the structural problems at the border,” said Beatty. “We are providing both governments with practical recommendations to ensure we come out of this economic downturn stronger and more competitive.”
The CTA’s Bradley has been calling on government to fix the border and to avoid being lulled into a false sense of security since many problems are currently masked by lower cross-border truck traffic as a result of poor economic conditions.