U.S.-Canada Border Improvements
The North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO), in partnership with the Business Council of Canada, created the 21st Century Border Action Plan for the U.S.-Canada border. This collaboration recommends regulators on both sides of the Canada-US border prioritize short term recommendations to provide significant improvements to North American supply chains over longer term headline worthy efforts. The report provides eight succinct and clear short-term recommendations, twelve medium-term recommendations, and a vision for a future border. The report will provide a unified voice for North American trading partners to ensure that every effort is made to keep goods moving across the Canada-US border. NASCO will be developing a similar report with US-Mexico border recommendations that is slated for publishing early 2019.
On October 16, 2018, NASCO released the following statement:
Now is the time to embrace a bold new agenda to strengthen North American supply chains and competitiveness
A report released today by North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO), in partnership with the Business Council of Canada, urges regulators on both sides of the Canada-US border to implement a number of measures to streamline North American supply chains and boost competitiveness.
The 21st century border action plan includes recommendations such as the harmonization of policies to allow access to expedited lanes for low risk traders, using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to quickly move trucks into Canada, and ensuring all lanes at the busiest ports of entry are always staffed. These measures would make a significant difference for cross-border trades and could be implemented immediately.
“Something as simple as requiring all lanes to be open during peak hours at the busiest land ports of entry has been an ongoing priority for industry, and yet an ongoing challenge” says Tiffany Melvin, President of NASCO. “Every minute of delay, and each disparity in process, incrementally adds cost to the supply chain. By streamlining simple border processes, the North American supply chain benefits significantly at a time of increased global competition for trade.”
The report comes on the heels of the recent United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA), formerly known as NAFTA, a modernized version of the tri-lateral free trade agreement. The USMCA provides certainty for business that trade across North America. The focus of policy makers should now turn to streamlining border crossings and facilitating North American trade.
NASCO’s work is focused primarily on grass roots efforts to promote North American supply chains and energy markets and close the skilled labor gap. While the USMCA comes as a good news story of the three countries commitment to continue the collaborative relationship, the negotiation uncertainty only strengthened NASCO’s resolve to further promote North American partnerships and keep moving forward. “We are very pleased with the outcome of the negotiations, of course, but our work never stopped” says Tiffany Melvin, President of NASCO, the only North American non-sectoral specific, not-for-profit association that has members in all three NAFTA countries. “The focus of this report is to provide clear direction for how we keep North American business going outside of politics.”
NASCO recently held its annual NASCO Continental Reunion, an event that draws hundreds of government, industry, association, and academics together to discuss North America as a whole and the various efforts to continue to position North America as the strongest trade partner at the global stage. Indicative of NASCO’s commitment to all three countries, the ‘Reunion’ alternates each year between Canada, US and Mexico. This year it was held in Vancouver and 2019 is slated for Columbus, Ohio with 2020 seeing a return to Mexico.