july 2011   

Is There Life Beyond the Border?
Building the Canada-US Border Vision Strategy

The Obama and Harper governments have big plans to make the border easier for traders and travellers. The Beyond the Border (BTB) initiative is the kind of high-level bilateral cooperation that we haven't seen since the pre-NAFTA days. But, unprecedented cooperation and nimble government footwork will be required to put meat on the bones of this agreement. With a Presidential election around the corner, the window of US attention is closing fast. No politician will support changes that might upset voter sensibilities on security and immigration. Even where changes are politically feasible, the US fiscal crisis means there is little money for better borders. Any proposals that reduce revenues from administrative fees and tariffs will be a non-starter. The ball is in Canada's court to come up with smart, pragmatic proposals that... Read more

Regulatory Co-operation
What's In, What's Out, What's Next?

Until the President and Prime Minister announced plans for closer regulatory co-operation last February, only a few policy wonks from the arcane world of trade technical barriers knew much about it. Now, that reg co-op has become a fast-growing bilateral economic initiative, businesses are wondering how they can benefit. The Canada-United States Regulatory Co-operation Council (RCC) is on a mission to narrow the gaps between the commercial regulations of the two countries. Before considering potential benefits to business, let's look at what regulatory subjects are up for consideration in this new arrangement... Read more

Financing Small Business in the Americas
How Canada and the United States Can Help

Recent research by the World Bank confirms that small businesses are the largest provider of jobs in developing countries but inadequate access to finance is one of the biggest obstacles to small business growth. In Canada and the United States, small businesses use many different sorts of collateral - equipment, inventories, accounts receivable - as security for bank loans but, in most developing countries, financial institutions will not lend to any business owner who does not own real estate.


Development agencies, including CIDA and USAID, have put private sector development at the top of their priority list only to discover the difficulties of translating ideals into effective action. Creating an "enabling environment for business" is a popular promise.  How do we achieve this? ... Read more  


Six Things
Thinking about cross-border issues

border 1. The Canadian Federation for Independent Business report "Border Barriers: SMEs' Experience with Cross-Border Trade" examines important issues affecting small-business traders.


2. Christopher Sands provides a comprehensive analysis of border issues, "Toward a New Frontier: Improving the U.S. Canadian Border".


3. "Let the Goods Flow," editorial by Colin Robertson and former Michigan Governor and U.S. Ambassador James Blanchard on a new bridge for Windsor-Detroit.


4. McCarthy Tetrault law firm (Boscariol, Potter, Swick, and Blyschak) with essential information on Canada's Consumer Product Safety Act.


5. Food and agriculture specialist, Ronald Doering (Gowlings) on "Regulatory Co-operation with the U.S. - Will the new recipe work?"


6. Paul Frazer, Canadian Chamber of Commerce Special Advisor on Canada-U.S. Relations identifies key elements in US politics in "Dispatches from Washington, Summer 2011."


Read the full newsletter here.  


2011 has been one of the most interesting periods in Canada-US relations in recent memory. (Recall the Chinese curse about interesting times...)   In September, I'll be relocating to Washington to work on a study entitled "Rebuilding North American Competitiveness in a Post-NAFTA World" at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars .  I'll be talking to practitioners and policy makers about how the United States and Canada can restore and expand regional competitiveness in a globalized world. Is the NAFTA enough?  Drop me a line to share your ideas.




Laura Dawson 

Dawson Strategic


In This Issue
US-Canada Border Vision
Regulatory Co-operation
SME Finance
Six Things
market access or cross-border trade question?

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