This afternoon, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama announced a new vision for the Canada-U.S. border. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcomes this initiative and views it as an important step in improving the efficiency of the Canada-U.S. border. Canada and the U.S. enjoy one of the most prosperous trading relationships in the world. Citizens in both countries benefit from this relationship with three million jobs in the U.S. and eight million in Canada depending upon the free flow of goods and services.
Unfortunately since 9/11 there have been dramatic increases in security measures at the border – costly measures that are being paid by businesses that use the border the most. When coupled with growing layers of regulations, increasing regulatory complexity, infrastructure constraints and uncertain wait times it is not surprising that businesses have been calling for change. An expensive border means reduced profitability for businesses and higher prices for consumers.
In 2008, 2009 and again in 2010 the Chamber released reports that outlined ways to make the border more secure while facilitating trade. The 2009 report, Finding the Balance: Shared Border of the Future embraces the post 9/11 security environment and puts forward practical recommendations to improve the Canada-U.S. border and strengthen North American competitiveness.
While the Canadian Chamber of Commerce applauds Prime Minister Harper and President Obama for this initiative, we urge both governments to live up to their commitments and work with industry to develop a shared border that functions to protect both our economic and physical security.
We have publically released a statement on today’s announcement, which I invite you to read.