Heightened U.S. border security initiatives are hurting trade relations with Canada, the country's international trade minister says.
In an interview with ReportonBusiness.com, Canada's International Trade Minister David Emerson said of the U.S. government:
You get this absolute supremacy of security trumping everything ... You get the bureaucrats in the departments and they are all powerful and they don't feel they have to listen to compromise or alternative solutions. In a way it's a disease of institutional bureaucracy and excessive empowerment.
Emerson said "somebody at a high level" has to order the "thickening" of the U.S.-Canada border to stop or it could damage the special economic relationship the United States has with Canada and do harm to both interdependent economies.
He complained that since 9-11 the United States' zealousness for security has imposed new "border obstacles, fees, and inspections." Companies tell horror stories in which they must store expensive inventory on either side of the border because increased security has upset the just-in-time supply chain that once existed.
Some Canadian companies, Emerson lamented, now find it impossible to produce on the Canadian side of the border and are producing in the United States.
A report from Transport Canada says border security upgrades by the United States and Canda since 9-11have led to $500 million in new costs for Canada's transportation industry alone.