Today, Secretary Penny Pritzker and Canada’s International Trade Minister Edward Fast spoke about the future of the U.S.-Canadian economic relationship at a luncheon hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The United States and Canada share a long-standing partnership based on history, geography, and the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship. It is the biggest bilateral trade relationship in the world with more than $1 million in trade crossing our border every minute.
In 2011, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper announced the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border Action Plan and the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council, with initiatives aimed at enhancing economic competitiveness. Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner – and vice versa. With more than $700 billion in two-way trade of goods and services annually and more than $600 billion in direct investment on both sides of the border, millions of jobs in each country depend on shared economic competitiveness. Canada is the number one export market for 36 of our 50 states and is among one of the top five export markets for another ten states.
Those stats reflect the threefold growth of trade in goods since 1990. The total value of goods traded between Canada and the United States in 1990 was $174 billion. By 2012, that had grown to more than $600 billion. Top exports to Canada include transportation equipment, machinery, chemicals, computers and electronics products and food products. The Department of Commerce has been working hard to ensure that number continues to climb.
What’s clear is that the two countries don’t just trade with each other, they build things together. In addition to aerospace, the auto supply chains are intertwined. Automotive components often cross the border many times before a final product is ready to be sold. In addition, investors pour hundreds of billions of dollars into both economies to build new facilities and to create new jobs. Literally millions of people in both countries rely on the trade and investment relationship for their livelihoods.
On a broader level, the competitiveness of the two countries is becoming more and more tied to the competitiveness of the entire North American region. Canada, Mexico, and the United States are working together to grow the trilateral relationship. They have pledged to continue helping businesses grow and workers succeed through enhanced regulatory cooperation, and coordinated efforts to facilitate increased trade through many initiatives, including the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Each country has committed to ensuring that the competitive advantages of the continent are maintained and enhanced.
By demonstrating that increased trade drives job creation and economic growth, Canada, Mexico and the United States have set a valuable example globally and have built a solid foundation upon which North American competitiveness can continue to be enhanced to the benefit of all citizens.