“NAFTA 2.0” still alive for US-Canadian supply chain managers

Trade ministers from 12 countries—including the US and Canada—failed to come to agreement at their final meeting in Singapore late last year on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

By ·

Trade ministers from 12 countries—including the US and Canada—failed to come to agreement at their final meeting in Singapore late last year on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). However, the world’s largest economic treaty in history is hardly dead in the water. While many of the proposed terms of the TPP are still shrouded in mystery, there is widespread agreement that the deal has reached a “tipping point” for North American supply chain managers.

Indeed, Canadian and American stakeholders are being urged by trade lobbyists to call on their governments to ensure the agreement includes long-term measures to deal with chokepoints in trade and the supply chain, The most urgent of these is the post-9/11 security measures between the US and Canada border that are impeding the facilitation of goods and services and risking economic security. Other pressing issues include inadequate infrastructure and redundant regulations that have plagued logistics managers for decades.

James D. Philips, President & CEO, Canadian-American Border Trade Alliance, calls the pending deal “NAFTA 2.0” for the fast-growing Asia Pacific Region. As the world’s largest free trade zone, the TPP would give Canada preferential trade and investment access to dynamic new markets. This represents a coveted door of opportunity that may accelerate our hemisphere’s economic recovery.

Philips will be among the speakers sharing market intelligence at the inaugural Cargo Logistics Canada (CLC) Expo in Vancouver on January 29-30, 2014. In an interview, he notes that past trade agreements used to deal mostly just with goods, while today’s iteration encompass a broad range of regulatory and legal issues, making them a much more central part of foreign policy and domestic lawmaking.

“Last year, for example, we saw the first-ever joint U.S.-Canada Border Infrastructure Investment Plan (BIIP),” says Phillips. “The development and release of this initiative fulfills a commitment made under the ‘2011 United States-Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan.’”

The BIIP is an interagency and bi-national planning mechanism developed to establish a mutual understanding of recent, ongoing, and potential border infrastructure investments. It outlines the approach that the US and Canada will take to coordinate plans for physical infrastructure upgrades at small and remote ports of entry. This initiative will be updated and disseminated annually, and follows recent announcements by Canada of significant investments at inland cargo gateways like North Portal, Saskatchewan, which serves Pacific Rim trade.

At the same time, the US and Canada announced a pilot project at the Port of Prince Rupert to eliminate duplicate security checks of marine cargo that enters Canada but is destined for the United States by rail. Under the new approach, cargo is screened only once, at its initial port of arrival, after which it is free to move across the U.S.-Canada border without the need for further inspections – embracing the principle of “screened once, accepted twice.”

As we await the eventual passage of TPP, trade experts maintain that modernization of major West Coast border crossings will reduce wait times, increase reliability of just-in-time shipments, and decrease fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper appear to be on the same page when it comes to “version two” of NAFTA– and that can only mean good things for Pacific Rim shippers.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

Global Logistics · NAFTA · Trade · All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) / Inventory Management Technology: 6 Trends for the Modern Age
Here’s how the next generation of warehouse and inventory management systems are evolving to help logistics operations operate more efficiently and improve their bottom lines in our brave, new digital age.
Download Today!
From the March 2018 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage to meet evolving requirements and shifting operational constraints? We’ve rounded up insights from leading analysts to share tools that are available now as well as what’s on the horizon.
Reverse Logistics in the “Age of Entitlement”
Logistics Management’s Viewpoint on E-commerce: Leveraging available tools
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Securing IoT data across the connected supply chain
Learn why a holistic approach to IAM is the most effective way to govern access to your systems and information requested by your partners, vendors, customers, and connected devices.
Register Today!
Evolution of E-commerce: The possibilities of tomorrow
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage...
State of Global Logistics: Delivering above and beyond
Industry experts agree that costs across all sectors worldwide will continue to rise in 2018, and...

2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing Rates Skyward
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued...
Building the NextGen Supply Chain: Keeping pace with the digital economy
Peerless Media’s 2017 Virtual Summit shows how creating a data-rich ecosystem can eliminate...