Sticking Points In Canadaus Trade
By Blanca Venegas
In the midst of economic recovery, Canada continues to be one of Florida’s top international trade partners. However, business leaders argue that unnecessary border policies and regulations are hindering the prosperous relationship.
"Our successful trade relationship is under pressure," President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty said during his keynote address at last week’s Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce free trade luncheon.
Recent Enterprise Florida reports show that the total two-way merchandise trade between Canada and Florida amounts closely to $9 billion a year, with about three-quarters transported overland by truck and another 15% shipped by rail.
Canada imports $3.6 billion from Florida annually, according to 2012 reports by the Consulate General of Canada, while Florida imports $4 billion from Canada annually.
According to Mr. Beatty, although bilateral trade has almost tripled since the Canada and US free trade agreement was enacted, "inefficient border policies" hurt trade industries, as these make it more costly to serve the North American market.
"It simply defies logic that we allow minor regulatory differences to hurt our industries," Mr. Beatty said. "I can assure you our competitors aren’t making the same mistake."
According to a Canada and Florida 2011 economic impact study by the Consulate General of Canada in Miami, country of origin reporting duties are "far more lax on products crossing state borders than they are crossing an international border."
"When our country prescribes the size of soup cans, it makes it difficult for American products to get into Canada," he said, "it adds no value and doesn’t provide consumer protection, but adds costs, limits choice, and makes our businesses weaker."
While both countries’ leaders are choosing to tackle these issues, he said, trade business leaders also need to promote both countries’ mutual interests globally, citing the importance of the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.
"These negotiations have the potential to revolutionize North America’s relationships with the Asia Pacific community," Mr. Beatty said.
Canada is an ambitious partner in these negotiations, as it has undertaken the most aggressive trade expansion ever seen, Mr. Beatty said.
Currently, Canada is negotiating 27 different trade agreements with major economies such as the European Union, India and Japan.
Last month, Canada officially joined negotiations toward an international trade and services agreement that, if successful, Mr. Beatty said, will liberalize 70% of global services trade.
"Trade is a vital component of our growth," he said.
Because economies in the East are growing and are hungry for new opportunities, he added, individual factors that will make US and Canada more efficient must be closely observed.
"We can’t do that by building walls," he said, "Great countries don’t hide behind walls; they break them down."To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.