Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Canadian Chamber of Commerce President Urges Talks with U.S. to Reduce Barriers

(The Canadian Press)

The president of Canada’s largest business association is calling for talks to improve the trade relationship with the United States now that there’s a new administration in the White House. Perrin Beatty, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says the North American Free Trade Agreement took down some costs of cross-border trading but increased other costs.

Beatty made his comments to a Calgary business audience shortly before Barack Obama was sworn in as the new president of the United States.

Beatty said inspections, delays and taxes have driven up the cost of the North American industrial base and made both Canada and the United States less competitive internationally. He urged both countries to resist the temptation of moving toward protectionism during a time of recession. The former federal cabinet minister was also critical of inter-provincial trade barriers, saying there are restrictions in place within Canada that would be illegal in parts of Europe.