october 2011   

Regulatory Cooperation
From Sweet Simplicity to Fiendish Complexity

Easier, better, faster, and less expensive: US-Canada regulatory cooperation promises to be a boon to supply chain management. Since early 2011, the two countries have been putting together a cooperative framework to reduce regulatory inefficiencies and streamline certification and testing procedures.  Canada released a summary of stakeholder suggestions in late August. The report classifies input received through public consultations. Judging from the scope of the suggestions, the phase one work plan - due sometime this fall - is sure to be a letdown.  READ MORE

Buy America is a wake-up call for Canada
It's time to focus on supply chains

The Buy America provisions of the proposed American Jobs Act do not intentionally  target Canada but they will disrupt cross-border supply chains.  In an OpEd published in the Toronto StarPaul Frazer and I argue that Buy America is another example of how Canada and the United States need to move from crisis management to effective mechanisms of economic cooperation that anticipate challenges before they become problems and help re-build our continental competitiveness in the world.  The US-Canada negotiations for better borders and regulatory cooperation might provide us with the mechanisms we need to help re-build North American competitiveness.  READ MORE 

Cross-border crusader
Minister Flaherty on a mission
Photo: Rick Mercer Photo Challenge
I don't know if Jim Flaherty prefers a sword for cross-border crusading or whether web-slinging wristbands are more his thing but since the election he has been a man on a mission. Some of his targets:
U.S. Internal Revenue Service - The Minister says the IRS is going too hard on US dual nationals living in Canada in order to find cross-border tax cheats. His main targets are the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and the Foreign Bank Account Report.  

Canada-US Price Disparity 
- "Flaheart" is asking a Senate Committee to investigate why Canadians pay $360 for a KitchenAid mixer that Americans get for $280. Are the retailers to blame? The manufacturers?  Unfortunately, this focus on Canadian retailers is further evidence that parity with U.S. on cross-border shopping is not on the agenda.   

Short Takes
Borders and regulations

cakesNo Fence - David V. Aguilar, deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says, " There is  no intent at the current time to build a fence between the ports of entry" (9/30/2011). 


Borders - Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says Canada and the U.S. making good progress on the border deal but sticking points remain. Canada is "not interested in simply having another level of security unless this can be accompanied by some significant trade benefits" (9/11/2011).   


Cross-Border Crime - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announces the creation of NextGen teams of cross-designated officers from the United States and Canada to deal with transnational crime. Details about the officers and their responsibilities have not been released but possible focus areas include transnational crime, smuggling, terrorism, and human trafficking (9/14/2011).


Consumer Product Safety - At the First North American Consumer Product Safety Summit, the U.S., Mexico and Canada announced a trilateral initiative to promote closer cooperation in regulations and standards, risk assessment, product surveillance, training and consumer outreach, and coordination of joint recalls (9/27/2011). 




Good Reads
Borders and regulations

readEconomists estimate that border delays cost Canada up to $27 billion per year

Trien T. Nguyen and Randall M. Wigle (2011), "Border Delays Re-Emerging Priority: Within-Country Dimensions for CanadaCanadian Public Policy 37, 1: 49-59



Suggestions don't build productivity, competition does

Tom Jenkins (2011), "A simple solution to Canada's innovation problemPolicy Options, September.


Canada spawns innovation but can't hold onto IP

Karen Mazurkewich (2011) "Rights and Rents: Why Canada Must Harness Its Intellectual Property Resources," Canadian International Council, September.


Looking at Canada's remote communities differently

Canadian Chamber of Commerce (2011), "The Business Case for Investing in Canada's Remote Communities," September.




atrium"At no time in our history have our national challenges been as complex and long-term as those we face today. But the most salient trait of our time is not the threats posed by terrorists, an anemic economy or climate change. It's our inability to respond coherently and effectively to obvious problems before they become crises..." (That Used to Be Us, 356)


I have been reading Friedman and Mandelbaum's new book about the U.S. economic decline and what to do about it. Friedman and Mandelbaum demand immediate action if the United States is to reverse the decline and become the world's economic launch pad.   This sense of urgency is echoed by the folks I'm interviewing for my work on new models of North American competitiveness at the The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Americans are concerned that the political agenda is preventing meaningful economic reforms. 

Canadians are similarly focused on ways to improve Canada's economic performance at home and abroad. We have the luxury of greater political stability to create, one hopes, meaningful economic reforms, but with so much of our economy tied to the U.S. much of the real work is out of our control. I am excited to be working with  The Macdonald-Laurier Institute, the CD Howe Institute and the Centre for Trade Policy and Law on new research projects. Watch for papers on Canada and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Canada-China energy nexus, North American competitiveness in a Post-NAFTA world, and the implications of U.S. extra-territorial policies on the Canadian banking and extractive sectors.


Dawson Strategic's client work follows closely its research program. We have interesting projects in manufacturing, procurement, anti-contraband, and the extractive sector. In our advisory work, we echo the mantra quoted above: to respond coherently to cross-border problems before they become crises by engaging the right players at the right level and finding common interests on both sides.


Businesses, if you get jammed up at the border once, call a talk radio show. If it happens five times, call Dawson Strategic.

Until next time,


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In This Issue
Regulatory Cooperation
Buy America Wake Up
Cross-Border Crusader
Short Takes
Good Reads
Washington Letter
Did You Know?
market access or cross-border trade question?


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Canada ranks sixth  in world for economic freedom, surpassing the United States which ranks tenth. But, the
Fraser Institute warns that global economic freedom is declining overall as a result of "perverse" regulations to deal with global banking and debt crises.





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