By John Les
Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier
Dec. 16, 2011
Creating B.C. jobs and growing the economy through co-operation
Today's economy has encouraged us to look for new and innovative ways to create jobs and increase economic growth. When discussing strategies for increasing trade, almost no one thinks of the most obvious trading relationship poised for the most growth in the short term - the U.S. - Canada market.
Last week Prime Minister Harper and President Obama launched an action plan that supports co-operation between the U.S. and Canada to ensure perimeter security and economic competitiveness. We're pleased to see this plan contains specific measures for British Columbia.
The four parts of this plan - joint threat assessment, trade enhancement, cross-border law enforcement and critical infrastructure - will bolster B.C.'s high-priority sectors such as forestry, energy, tourism, transportation, technology and agriculture.
The B.C. government is committed to working with the Government of Canada and Washington State to ensure a common-sense approach when it comes to crossing the border. In many cases, duplicate screening exists. In British Columbia, we support the consistent treatment of legitimate trade and travellers. Simple regulatory barriers often play a role in discouraging companies from venturing north, so we want to make rules simple, clear and less expensive for visitors, business travellers and businesses that trade, invest or provide services across the border.
Secure and consistent access to and from the U.S. is crucial to B.C.'s continued role as Canada's Asia Pacific Gateway. That's why we strongly support the one-year rail pilot project announced last week. This pilot program will address security threats early and reduce duplicate inspections later in the supply chain. An integrated, North American cargo strategy will help all of B.C.'s key sectors move goods faster and more securely to markets.
As Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway, B.C. is keen to ensure a single-window approach to customs clearance that facilitates the movement of legitimate trade and travel between the United States, Canada and beyond. Reducing or eliminating multiple customs and immigration inspections is a valuable step toward a more efficient, transparent and user-friendly border experience.
Access to and from the United States is a key part of British Columbia's plan to create jobs here at home and ensure that our economy thrives. We will continue to improve and strengthen relationships between the United States and Canada to make sure we are creating jobs and stimulating economic growth for families right here in British Columbia.