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Doer optimistic about North American free trade

Gary Doer, Canadian ambassador to the U.S. addresses the NASCO (North American SuperCorridor Coalition) conference at the Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites this morning.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Gary Doer, Canadian ambassador to the U.S. addresses the NASCO (North American SuperCorridor Coalition) conference at the Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites this morning.

Gary Doer said he is increasingly optimistic about better trade logistics in the North American trade corridors.

Speaking at a NASCO regional competitiveness summit in Winnipeg this morning, Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. said there are all sorts of opportunities to add value to the supply chain in the North American context.

NASCO (North American Strategy for Competitiveness) is a 20 year-old tri-national coalition of governments, businesses and educational institutions which works to increase the competitiveness of North America by collaborating along freight, energy and trade networks. Manitoba has been a member of NASCO since it was formed.

Doer said there is less negativity on the political front in the U.S. when it comes to North American free trade and more willingness to attempt to harmonize or align the regulatory environment for cross border trading.

But he did say customs and border services took a hit in the severe budget cutting process that took place last year in the U.S.

And, he said, there are still state-sponsored trade barriers that crop up on a regular basis — like a recent one out of Washington state that proposed a tax on all shipping containers coming in from B.C. ports — that his office has to continually attend to.

But he said renewed optimism about energy self-sufficiency in the U.S. and Mexico means there is greater emphasis on trade within North America and more willingness to present as a trading block with somewhat aligned interests in international organizations like the Trans Pacific Partnership.

 

- Martin Cash

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