KANSAS CITY, Mo. — CTA CEO David Bradley told a U.S. business audience this week the health Canada/U.S. trade depends on balancing security and growth. Bradley was the keynote speaker for the International Trade Club of Greater Kansas City’s annual NAFTA conference.
The world’s largest trade partnership is an economic boon to both countries and is worth nurturing and protecting, said Bradley.
“While we know that in the present circumstances security trumps trade, we have to focus on ways to enhance security at our shared border and within the supply chain without choking off the growth in trade that has occurred since NAFTA came into being 10 years ago,” he said.
Not only is one-third of Canada’s GDP dependent upon trade with the U.S., but 39 states list Canada as their number one foreign export market, Bradley pointed out. He added the U.S.-Canada trade relationship is founded on close proximity, convenience and capacity utilization — not cheaper labour costs.
“Canada is not a low wage country like China and India. The jobs resulting from Canada–U.S. trade stay in North America,” he said.
Since most of the trade between the two countries moves by truck, it is essential, Bradley said, “we not clog the arteries that are our border crossings and highways. We need bilateral border management systems, and strategic infrastructure investment, the gains from NAFTA and its future economic promise could hit some pretty significant speed bumps.
“NAFTA is not perfect,” he said. “For example, how can we talk about free trade when both countries cling to outdated and inefficient cabotage rules in truck transportation? But where would we be without NAFTA?”
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