U.S.-Canada supply chain to be strengthened
February 09, 2011 - SCMR Editorial
President Obama and Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper issued a joint statement reconfirming their support of new and existing trade initiatives.
“Beyond the Border:?A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness,” released late last week noted that the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreements need to be extended and strengthened.
Over $250 billion of direct investment by each country in the other, and bilateral trade of more than half-a-trillion dollars a year in goods and services create and sustain millions of jobs in both our countries, observed President Obama.
“At the U.S.-Canada border, nearly one million dollars in goods and services cross every minute, as well as 300,000 people every day,” he added.
While most of the President’s declaration concentrated on security, he did make significant mention of other elements in the cross-border supply chain.
“We will focus investment in modern infrastructure and technology at our busiest land ports of entry, which are essential to our economic well-being,” he said. ?”We will strive to ensure that our border crossings have the capacity to support the volume of commercial traffic inherent to economic growth and job creation on both sides of the border.”
This comment will resonate with many NAFTA analysts.
“Any global trade issues tend to increase government scrutiny, which results in more delays,” said Beth Peterson, president of BPE, Inc. in San Francisco. “Most companies don’t even have visibility to the fact that they are having issues, so they don’t even know they need to fix anything.”
The President said that risk management practices will be enhanced, and that a bi-national port of entry committee will be coordinating, planning and funding, building, expanding or modernizing shared border management facilities and border infrastructure “where appropriate.”
He added that the government will be also be investing in information technology solutions.? ?
“We intend to look for opportunities to integrate our efforts and where practicable, to work together to develop joint facilities and programs – within and beyond the United States and Canada – to increase efficiency and effectiveness for both security and trade,” he said.
He added that his administration aims to build on the success of current joint programs by expanding trusted traveler and trader programs, harmonizing existing programs, and automating processes at the land border to increase efficiency.? ?
“We will look for ways to reduce the cost of conducting legitimate business across the border by implementing, where practicable, common practices and streamlined procedures for customs processing and regulatory compliance,” he said.
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