OTTAWA – Canada’s Chamber of Commerce has called for concerted action by the government, the wider business community and other stakeholders to address the problem of Canada's waning relationship with the United States in a special study released on Dec. 7.
Strengthening Our Ties: Four Steps Toward a More Successful Canada-US Partnership looks at how Canada's relationship with the US has become strained in recent years and outlines four areas—trade, regulatory policies, the border and energy security and the environment—where notable progress has the potential to usher in the next generation of economic growth and prosperity for both countries.
"Canada and the US have a long, vibrant history of cooperation and success, but it is clear that bilateral relations have drifted," said Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "At a time when the global economy is undergoing significant shifts, it is imperative that both countries recognize the advantages of the integrated North American market. Canada needs to develop a dedicated strategy for engagement in the US that focuses on highlighting the gains from the bilateral arrangement and promoting free trade."
For Canada, an effort to renew its ties with the US has become urgent given the strength of its economic integration with the US. The US also stands to benefit from stronger ties with Canada, the Canadians said. Canada is a close ally, an important source of secure, reliable energy, a major destination for US exports and a key element in North American production networks.
Canada must convey that policies that hinder the free flow of legitimate goods and services across the border not only reduce North American competitiveness but also weaken the foundations underpinning the North American Free-Trade Agreement. Many of the benefits that came from eliminating tariff barriers between the two countries have gradually been lost to regulatory differences and border inefficiencies.
To avoid further erosion, it is time for Canada to present the US with new goals, new ideas and new areas for partnership that will not only secure the future of both economies but will create jobs and make both countries more competitive, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce relayed.
"The key to recharging this relationship is ensuring Canada is seen as the solution to the serious economic problems the US is facing," Beatty said. "President Obama's call to double American exports in the next five years has been one of his few economic gestures to attract support from all sides. If America is going to achieve this ambitious goal, it's going to be in part because of Canada."
The Canadian study is available on the Canadian Chamber's Web site: www.chamber.ca