Clearing up restrictions that clog the Canada-U.S. border could save businesses in both countries as much as $30 billion a year, according to Canada’s minister of international trade.
“We would like to see something passed quickly,” Fast said. “The cost to Canadians and Americans alike of current barriers across our border are estimated at $15-to-30-billion a year.”
Speaking from Vancouver, the minister said he couldn’t discuss negotiations until an announcement is made but admitted, “We’ve made excellent progress.”
Easing trade restrictions was one element of the so-called Beyond the Border action plan that was announced eight months ago but Fast said negotiators have “narrowed the scope” of the talks from a wide-ranging border security agreement.
When asked about recent “Buy America” rumblings from U.S. politicians, Fast suggested the posturing was being done for political reasons.
“The Buy America provisions are bad trade policy,” he said. “Bad for Canada, bad for the United States because of how integrated out economies are.”
He pointed out that $650 billion in trade crosses the border annually, which breaks down to $1.8 billion a day.