Canada's Transport Minister in Chicago to discuss the importance of strong transportation networks to international trade and economic prosperity

OTTAWA, April 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, was in Chicago today where she marked the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and addressed the Council of Great Lakes Governors regarding the importance of building the new Detroit River International Crossing (New International Trade Crossing) in order to spur ongoing economic growth in Canada and the United States.

In her address to the NAFTANEXT summit, the Minister noted the benefits brought by the trade agreement and discussed the Government of Canada's economic record, including its robust trade agenda.

She highlighted investments in Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway, as well as measures to improve rail safety, noting that these actions contribute to the safe and secure movement of goods across all of North America, helping to increase trade, grow the economy and create jobs.

While meeting with the Council of Great Lakes Governors, Minister Raitt emphasized the importance of bilateral cooperation on border infrastructure projects such as the crossing between Windsor and Detroit. The new bridge will ensure there is sufficient border crossing capacity to handle projected growth in cross-border trade and traffic in the Windsor-Detroit trade corridor. It will provide a much-needed crossing alternative at the busiest commercial border crossing between Canada and the U.S., create thousands of construction jobs and long-term employment opportunities on both sides of the border, and support national security and public safety priorities in Canada and the U.S.

The Government of Canada has pledged to pay for almost all of the new bridge project, including property acquisition on the U.S. side. However, Canada continues to await a decision by the U.S. government to pay for its new customs plaza in Detroit. The U.S. inspection plaza represents a relatively modest investment - just $250 million of the overall $4.4-billion project.

Quick facts

NAFTA

  • NAFTANEXT is a gathering of industry and government leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities created by increased trade in North America. This summit is exploring how transportation, energy and environmental infrastructure will work in North America.
  • 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, which has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on the Canadian economy. It has opened up new export opportunities, acted as a stimulus to build internationally competitive businesses, and helped attract significant foreign investment.
  • Under NAFTA, Canada-US trade has grown to a value of about $2 billion per day (2012 figures) and Mexico has become Canada's third-largest trading partner.

The Detroit River International Crossing

  • About 30 per cent of total U.S.-Canada trade, more than $100 billion worth crosses the Windsor-Detroit international trade corridor each year.
  • Canada is the top export destination for 34 states including each member state of the Council of Great Lakes States: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
  • Over 8 million American and over 2 million Canadian jobs depend on trade and investment between Canada and the United States.

Quotes

"The NAFTANEXT event is a good opportunity to discuss how we can advance our mutual goal of increasing trade, both on this continent and with markets around the globe."

"The ongoing collaboration of Canada and the United States on projects such as the Detroit-Windsor crossing can help to make North America the most competitive and dynamic region in the world. We look forward to continuing discussions with our U.S. partners and pursuing our common goals together so that we can get this bridge to the future built."

The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport

Related product

Remarks by Minister Raitt - NAFTANEXT

Remarks by Minister Raitt - Council of Great Lakes Governors Executive Meeting

SOURCE Transport Canada

For further information:

Ashley Kelahear
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
613-991-0700

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa
613-993-0055

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