CMBG3’s Government Affairs team recently attended a candid conversation with Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Kirsten Hillman. Ambassador Hillman addressed Canadian relations with the United States and other issues of importance to New England and the entire nation.
Ambassador Hillman began her opening remarks highlighting the special relationship with the New England Region and Canada. In fact, 25% of New England residents claim Canadian heritage and over 64,000 New England residents are employed by Canadian companies. These types of relationships have created over $32 billion in trade between Canada and the New England states and have also helped our respective countries maintain a sense of normalcy during this unprecedented time. The Canadian/United States border is the busiest land border in the world with over $2B traded in goods and services every day. In early March, the United States and Canada made the decision collaboratively and quickly to close the border at the onset of the pandemic. While this has reduced personal and business travel between the two countries by 90%, there has been very little decrease in cargo travel. The Ambassador described Canada and the United States as “best friends” in their work to combat the Covid crisis.
Ambassador Hillman discussed the new United States – Mexico – Canadian agreement (“USMCA”), which went into effect on July 1, 2020 and will be reviewed after six years. The Ambassador described the agreement as state of the art and designed to ensure that all can benefit from international trade by creating more opportunity for small businesses and communities who would have otherwise not had the opportunity. The USMCA was widely supported across all party lines in each country and the Ambassador is looking forward to seeing how the agreement modernizes international trade. She discussed the various components of the agreement that directly relate to small businesses designed to streamline processes, paperwork, and rules regarding digital trade. Ambassador Hillman discussed that one of the great things about the USMCA are the mechanisms in place to consult with all sectors and the ability to determine what is or is not working at the agreement’s review time.
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