Glenn Hamer looks back at Gov. Ducey’s trade mission to Canada in this edition of The Hamer Times.
Before Gov. Ducey’s trade mission to Canada, the last time I visited Montreal was when the Expos were still playing in Olympic Stadium. As a native New Yorker I visited Montreal and Quebec a number of times over the years.
The city has retained its charm and distinct multicultural flavor. Major kudos to Mr. Canada Glenn Williamson for organizing such a top-notch trade mission that allowed our state to shine on the global stage.
When Canadians think of the U.S., they think trade
In conversations with numerous business and political figures one topic dominated: trade. Connected to this is an intense focus on the U.S. presidential election. With Trump promising to renegotiate and potentially dismantle NAFTA, and Clinton distancing herself from one of her husband’s most important accomplishments, people are rattled.
You can understand why.
The economy of Canada is tied to the success and the quality and quantity of the trading relationship with the United States. A dismemberment of our international trading system would do great harm to our country’s our top trading partner. In fact, in a sign of Canada’s reliance on global markets, the IMF just downgraded Canada’s growth prospects as a result of projected weaker demand for commodities and lower oil prices.
U.S. risks losing ground
And I’ll point out that the world and our neighbors are not standing still. Mexico boasts more trade agreements than any other country in the Americas. And Canada is poised to become part of a trade bloc with the European Union, under the freshly negotiated Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Association (CETA).
Backing down from trade is not so hot for us, either.
In a recent content-rich column on NAFTA, The Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady sums things up as follows: “In fact, an interconnected North American economy has made U.S. manufacturing globally competitive. U.S. companies source components from Mexico and Canada and add value in innovation, design and marketing. The final outputs are among the most high-quality, low-price products in the world.”
Free traders are winners
It’s important to note that underneath the presidential election, either all or the vast majority of free traders — from both parties — won primaries. In some ways the congressional primary season has been the most uneventful one in quite some time.
Nothing has changed — yet — with NAFTA. After the election some defense may need to be played as the case is made for going on offense with major trade deals.
P3 case studies
On a more productive note, the Montreal visit had a focus on P3s (public private partnerships). Canada is a world leader in this area and is doing major deals at home, the U.S. and throughout the whole world.
The basic premise is that a government entity contracts out with a private entity for a public function such as building a road or a prison. Charter schools here in Arizona might be such an example, or the South Mountain portion of the Loop 202 freeway.
Done right, these deals provide better services for less money than by building up a governmental workforce. In addition to the Arizona Department of Transportation, the P3 model can be found in government IT and corrections. The Canadian companies are keen to work with Arizona companies in future P3 projects
Integrated travel clearance
One final note on how integrated the U.S. and Canada are today: Leaving Montreal, I cleared U.S. Customs on Canadian soil inside the Montreal airport. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers performed their job outside of the U.S. in one of the few countries where U.S. pre-clearance occurs.