TORONTO, Ont. — David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, studying the Canada-United States of America, and the Canada-Mexico trade relationships.
Bradley told the committee that, “Canada’s number one economic priority must be to remove uncertainties at the border, or risk an outflow of direct investment to the US.”
“We have to assure our U.S. neighbours that our border is secure and we have to ensure our customers and investors in plants and factories that their supply chain is efficient,” said Bradley. “The FAST (free and secure trade) program is the key to a secure and efficient border; the program should be used as the platform for other US security measures such as a proposed Transportation Worker Identity Card. It just makes sense,” said Bradley.
“One third of Canada’s GDP is dependent on exports to the US and it is evident that anything that impacts directly on the volume of trade or the ability of trucks to cross the border will have a very immediate and direct impact on the trucking industry and indeed the Canadian economy,” added Bradley. “Canada’s greatest economic asset is the open access to the U.S. market that we have enjoyed for so many years, but as recent events have shown, it can also be our greatest vulnerability. We must repair relations with our best friend and trading partner and we must make sure the border is more secure and more efficient than it was even before September 11, 2001.”
Bradley also warned of a trend that shows that Mexico will, given current growth rates, one day surpass Canada as the major source of imports into the US. And, he expressed concern over the effectiveness of the current NAFTA agreement under the new world order.
“While the trucking industry has obviously benefited significantly from the increases volumes of trade between the NAFTA countries, the trucking components of the agreement have not been implemented to the extent they were supposed to have. The delay in opening the southern border put the brakes on the regulatory standardization initiatives contained in NAFTA, and it is unclear how or if they can be kick-started now.”
Trucks carry 70 per cent (by value) of Canada’s trade with the United States. A truck crosses the Canada-US border once every 2 seconds.
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