Detroit, Michigan — Jun 30, 2011 — Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale, joined the United States Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson to continue the discussions started by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper for expanding trade opportunities with Canada. Meetings were held on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 in both Detroit and Windsor to discuss the "Beyond the Border" initiatives. John Swiatek, CEO of Coliant Corporation, was invited by the Department of Commerce to be a roundtable member and answer questions that will be taken back to President Obama and Prime Minister Harper. Coliant's Director of Sales, Adam Bonislawski was also in attendance as an observer/adviser at all three meetings.
Roundtable members explored ways that Canadian and U.S. firms can work more closely together to encourage and expand exporting. Suggestions were made by the members on how to improve the safe, efficient, and legitimate movement of goods and people between Canada and the U.S. "It is important for small businesses to have the ability to pre-qualify their intentions for all border crossings regarding commerce," said Swiatek. A new bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor was also discussed along with U.S. and Canadian postal service shipment tracking visibility. "Having a transparent manner for customers to see shipments of goods using the two countries postal services is also key for high-volume, low-cost, small shipments to destinations throughout Canada," concluded Swiatek.
In 2010, Canada was the United States' largest export market, with more than $249 billion or 14 percent of all U.S. exports. Total trade between the two countries exceeded $520 billion - Canada and the U.S. trade more than any two other countries in the world. In 2010, U.S. exports to Canada increased 21 percent from 2009. The 82 year old, privately owned bridge between Detroit and Canada carries almost $1.5 billion in commerce every day between Canada and the USA. Canada has offered to pay for the Michigan side of the bridge, a sum of nearly $450 million. Bonislawski and Swiatek both strongly support the construction of a new bridge. "Misleading information concerning the bridge appears to be everywhere... after looking at the numbers, the new bridge provides a long term economic opportunity for people in the entire region and it is a vital part of transforming S.E. Michigan's current economic health," states Swiatek.
Canada and U.S. trade by the numbers:
- Total trade between Canada and the United States in 2010: $520-billion
- Daily trade across Canada-U.S. border: $1.5-billion
- Portion of that trade represented by the auto industry: 20 percent
- Number of times some auto components cross the border before a car is made: 6
- Domestically manufactured car cost caused by border delays: $200/vehicle ($500 million annually)
Sources: US Census Bureau and Ford Canada
President's Export Council Members Dr. Stephanie Burns Ph.D., Chairman of Dow Corning, and Gene Hale, President and Founder of G&C Equipment Corporation were also in attendance. They will use the information discussed at the event in the Council's future deliberations on recommendations to the President on how to expand U.S. exports and create American jobs.
The afternoon Windsor meeting participants included the President's Export Council plus David Jacobson, Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale and several industry leaders including: David Mondragon, CEO Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited; Reid Bigland, CEO Chrysler Canada Inc.; Arturo Elias, VP General Motors Company; George Bezaire, Director Corporate Planning Imperial Oil Limited (Exxon Mobil); Loretta L. Schmitzer, VP Global Gov Affairs The Boeing Company and others.
Mr. Swiatek and Mr. Bonislawski expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to voice the concerns of small business at these important meetings. Coliant Corporation designs, manufactures and distributes rugged electrical accessories for the powersport industry under the Powerlet(tm), RapidFIRe(tm) and Luggage Electrix(tm) brands.
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