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Canada consul general expects flow of people and goods to increase at border » Local News » Niagara Gazette

August 15, 2011

Canada consul general expects flow of people and goods to increase at border

By Mark Scheer Niagara Gazette

NIAGARA FALLS — A top Canadian delegate to the U.S. told small business lenders who gathered for a conference in Niagara Falls on Monday to expect the flow of trade and traffic to improve between the two countries as leaders find ways to streamline regulations and share security operations.

Canada Consul General Marta Moszczenska, who addressed a gathering of officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration during a conference session on Goat Island, said she’s confident border initiatives announced earlier this year by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will help align regulatory and security approaches for both countries, leading to lower costs for businesses and consumers.

“There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done, but the intent of this agreement is to improve the flow of people and goods across the border,” said Moszczenska, who is based in the Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo, which administers immigration, trade and public affairs programs for the Canadian government in western and upstate New York, central Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

In February, Obama and Harper announced a joint agreement between the U.S. and Canada to pursue a “perimeter approach to security” that would include tracking potential threats before they reach North America while eliminating hurdles that currently impede the movement of goods and people between the two countries. The proposal envisions the creation of an “integrated Canada-United States entry-exit system” that would allow for an improved exchange of information between border agents and could lead to the development of jointly operated Canada-U.S. border facilities and “cross-designated” law enforcement personnel.

At the same time, the two leaders directed the creation of a U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), a group of senior regulatory, trade and foreign affairs officials from the U.S. and Canada who have been given a two-year mandate to increase “regulatory transparency and coordination” in order to promote economic growth and job creation in both countries.

Moszczenska said there are many economic reasons why the two countries would want to work closer together when it comes to border regulations and security. She said the commercial value of trade between the U.S. and Canada is “second to none in the world,” standing at $645 billion. Canada is the top export destination for 35 U.S. states and more than 8 million U.S. jobs are dependent upon the cross-border trade, she said. Moszczenska also suggested Canada is actually a stronger trade partner for the U.S. than China, with her country spending nearly $4 to every $1 worth of goods purchased by China from America.

“The hallmark of the Canada-U.S. trade relationship is our collaboration,” she said.

The SBA is a federal agency founded to encourage the development of small businesses through various lending programs. Moszczenska served as the keynote speaker during the first day of U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2011 America East Conference, which resumes today in Buffalo and wraps up on Wednesday.

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