OTTAWA, Ontario – Ed Fast, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, is concerned that proposed increases to fees by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) would impose disproportionate costs on Canadian exporters and commercial transporters, with detrimental effects on cross-border trade and ultimately on the prosperity of both countries.

“My concerns have been formally submitted to the US government,” he said.

“Canada and the United States have the world’s largest trading relationship, and Canada is by far the largest customer for US goods and services,” Fast said in a statement. “Bilateral trade in goods and services for 2013 was valued at $782 billion — that’s $2.1 billion a day or $1.5 million every minute. We want to grow this relationship, not stifle it.”

Canada and the United States must continue to work together to facilitate border trade and strengthen North American competitiveness to ensure the mutual prosperity and growth of both nations.

“While we believe that government inspection fees should cover the costs of doing business, the proposed APHIS fees unduly affect goods that travel across the border by truck, which represent the majority of Canada-US trade,” Fast said.

The new APHIS fees are expected to cost the Canadian trucking industry an additional $15.5 million and according to the Chamber of Marine Commerce’s estimates, increased inspection costs for Canadian ships could more than double under the new rules.

Given the unique nature of our trading relationship, Canada-US trade is expected to suffer disproportionately when compared to other country trading relationships with the United States, Fast said. The market distortion that is being created may not be consistent with US international trade obligations, he added.

“In 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper issuedBeyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitivenessand theBeyond the Border Action Plan, which identify joint priorities and actions to accelerate the legitimate flows of people and goods between both countries, while strengthening security and economic competitiveness” he continued. “Significant measures have been undertaken and are under way through this initiative. We request that the proposed APHIS fee changes take into account both the spirit and ideals embodied in this shared vision, as well as the reality of our low-risk, high-volume trade.”