At the recommendation of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce this week called a meeting of national business associations to discuss strategies and a common approach to deal with the Trump administration and potential trade issues.
The meeting consisted of 20 associations, representing hundreds of thousands of businesses, who pledged to explore working together to help ensure that U.S. legislators are aware of the millions of American jobs that depend on the Canada-U.S. relationship. The groups also laid groundwork for the potential of a ‘Team Canada’ coalition that would focus on trans-border commerce strategy designed to expand business relationships with the United States and, if need be, proactively prepare for any anti-trade or protectionist policies imposed by the Trump administration.
At the same time, the individual groups agreed that immediate action is also needed on this side of the border to make Canada more competitive. As the U.S. moves quickly to strengthen its competitiveness by streamlining regulations and reducing taxes, Canada also needs to keep pace in reducing the costs that affect Canada’s attractiveness as a supplier and a place to invest, the groups stated.
The groups agreed to reconvene in three weeks, at which time the Trump administration’s attitudes toward Canadian trade issues could become clearer and a more detailed strategic plan of how to assist the Canadian government in trade negotiations with Washington can be mapped out. Furthermore, individual associations needed time to discuss each sector’s messaging and strategic focus on trade issues.
CTA is committed to working with other sectors in the Canadian economy to reinforce the message that US trade with Canada leads to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. As well, CTA will continue to advocate the specific interests of the trucking industry on such issues as empty trailer movements.
“Time will tell what challenges and opportunities await us in potential trade discussions with the US. But we must be ready to react quickly when the opportunities and challenges present themselves,” said CTA VP Stephen Laskowski
MP Andrew Leslie, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and special advisor on Canada-U.S. Relations, also attended the meeting and committed to working with the trade community.