Canadian Minister: Improve Infrastructure or Economy Suffers

By August 19, 2008Infrastructure, Trade

Canada’s Industry Minister, Jim Prentice, spoke yesterday at the Americas Competitiveness Forum in Atlanta, hitting on priority issues for manufacturers on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border —  trade, energy and infrastructure. His prepared remarks are here.

The Financial Post story highlights his remarks about ports and other infrastructure, relevant for the U.S. reader (including members of Congress):

OTTAWA – The Industry Minister, Jim Prentice, acknowledged yesterday that Canadian trade prospects are at risk unless it does more, and quickly, to upgrade its border and port infrastructure.

The comments, made to key policymakers from the three NAFTA countries, appear to endorse recommendations made in the recent report of the Competition Policy Review Panel. Sources say the federal government will borrow liberally from the report in outlining its economic agenda for the fall when Parliament resumes.

Mr. Prentice’s commitment to improved infrastructure comes at a time when Canada is trying to develop new bilateral trade relationships to make up for the recent collapse of WTO-sponsored ne-gotiations aimed at liberalizing global trade.

“We need to make trade logistics and border infrastructure a priority in the short term or lose opportunities to other global competitors who are better organized to facilitate trade,” Mr. Prentice said in a speech to a North America competitiveness forum held in Atlanta.

Prentice told the audience that Ottawa plans to invest $2 billion for new port facilities and border crossings to improve trade.

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