Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Liberals to Dole out $2.1-Billion to Unclog Trade, Border Bottlenecks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Liberals to Dole out $2.1-Billion to Unclog Trade, Border Bottlenecks

Article excerpt

Feds to pour $2.1-billion into trade fund

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OTTAWA - The federal government plans to sink $2 billion into trade and transport infrastructure, including trade routes along the border with the United States that have become clogged and are in dire need of expansion.

At times, the Canadian and U.S. governments may end up sharing costs on border upgrades, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Tuesday in announcing the plan. In other cases, he said, it may be Canadian taxpayers footing the bill alone, such as is the case with the Gordie Howe bridge between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit.

Without the planned spending, however, cargo could get caught up in bottlenecks at bridges, tunnels and ports, putting businesses in both countries in peril, Garneau warned a business audience that included the acting American ambassador.

"We must remember that we can have the best quality products and the most ambitious trade agreements in the world, but none of that will matter if we don't move our goods efficiently and reliably to markets," he said in a luncheon speech.

"Our customers can always look elsewhere for their needs."

He pointed to the auto sector, where parts come from both countries and a car crosses the border multiple times before it is sold to consumers.

"That car is as Canadian as it is American, and the process to get it into your driveway keeps people employed on both sides of the border, and so those trade corridors have to keep working too."

Speaking later with reporters, Garneau played down any suggestion that he was trying to push back against protectionist sentiments from the Trump administration, which is marking its first Independence Day in office and is looking to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement in the coming months. …

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