As U.S. President Donald Trump and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meet in Washington today, the Canadian Trucking Alliance joined a group of about 40 leading Canada-U.S. business associations, companies, and policy experts in issuing a joint statement laying out the general principles that should guide the management of the world’s largest security, trade, and cultural relationship.
The statement – dubbed the Columbus Statement on U.S.-Canadian Relations – arose out of a June 2016 meeting on the campus of Ohio State University to discuss the future of Canada-U.S. relations throughout the tenure of the incoming U.S. administration. It calls for the respective leaders to address innovation; expanded labour mobility; regulatory alignment; border security; trade and travel facilitation and cooperation; enhancing the role of states, provinces, and municipalities; and addressing Canada-U.S. in the global context. The principal author of the statement was Dr. Christopher Sands of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington.
In addition to CTA, which is a federation of the provincial trucking associations representing over 4,500 companies, signatories include the Chambers of Commerce of both countries as well as several bilateral trade organizations, such as the Canadian-American Business Council (Washington, DC); the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (Dallas, TX); the Canadian Business Association of North Carolina (Raleigh, NC); the Canada Arizona Business Council (Phoenix, AZ); and the Canada-US Law Institute (Cleveland, OH).
“It is noteworthy the statement of principles emanated out of the United States and its signatories are from across both Canada and the U.S.,” says David Bradley, CTA’s CEO. “Trucks haul two-thirds by value of Canada-US trade; so, anything that might disrupt that trade – whether it’s about scrapping NAFTA, a border tax, or further layers of border security – is of real concern to us.
“Moreover, anything that thickens the border and makes supply chains less reliable and predictable would have a profound impact on the competitiveness of both countries.”
Bradley says a truck crosses the Canada-US border about once every two and half seconds. He adds that over 40 per cent of the trade between Canada and the U.S. is intra-corporate.
“Simply put, Canada and the U.S. build things together,” Bradley says. “A piston, for example, can cross the border seven or eight times during the manufacturing process. Our economies are that integrated.
“Canada-US trade is balanced,” he continued. “It’s based on mutual competencies and rules-based on trade – not cheap labour or advantages conveyed by shirking safety and environmental considerations.”
The Columbus Statement on U.S.-Canadian Relations is available here.