Unite Customs as a single Can-Am group: ex-PM

OTTAWA, Ont. — The message from former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney rang clear, it’s time to consider a Canada-U.S. customs union as the next big step in free trade between the two countries.

The cost saving would be substantial says the ex-PM. He explains that the price for each country is currently in the area of $30 billion a year.

The revelations from Mulroney came yesterday in a speech to the annual convention of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada.

“Clearly, we need to improve our cross-border infrastructure,” he says. “We also need to have a hard and unemotional look at the question of the border itself. If the nations of the European Union can operate a seamless customs union, and they do, why shouldn’t Canada and the U.S.?”

He adds that the two countries should move to, “strengthen the perimeter around North America,” ensuring unrestricted movement for people as well as goods and services, he said. This will require common approaches on tariffs and customs, immigration and defence. If necessary, Canada and the U.S. should lead the way and prepare for deeper Mexican involvement later.

Improving cross-border movement was one of eight policy initiatives that Mulroney outlined as necessary to stop an “alarming” decline in Canadians’ standard of living. However, he stopped short of calling for a common Canada-U.S. currency.

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