Trump-Trudeau summit promises more cooperation on trade, border efficiency
Within a month of President Donald Trump’s taking office, he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met for a White House visit in which they jointly agreed to strengthen cooperation on a range of issues, from regulatory reform and cooperation, to border efficiency and security.
“It was important for building a foundation,” Stephen Brereton, Canada’s consul general in Chicago, says of this early meeting of the two federal leaders, “and the government ministers will move much of this forward.”
In part, the February summit between Trudeau and Trump simply reaffirmed a commitment to some ongoing initiatives between Canada and the United States — for example, giving preclearance to cross the border for people who meet certain requirements and better integrating cross-border law enforcement.
In order to simplify the movement of goods across the border, the leaders also pledged to expand preclearance for freight. And they made special note of their support for the new Gordie Howe Bridge, which, once constructed and open to traffic, will add capacity along the Detroit-Windsor border, the busiest commercial crossing in North America.
In the Midwest, 1.7 million jobs are dependent on trade with and investments from Canada (see map). Canada is the largest market for goods in 35 U.S. states, including all 11 Midwestern states.
In Ohio, for example, autos and motor vehicle parts accounted for nearly $4 billion in exports to Canada in 2016. Overall, Ohio companies sent a total of $19.1 billion in exports to Canada last year, and imported $11.5 billion in Canadian goods. Some of this trade is between firms in supply chains that send components across the border as they make things together. Canadian companies have invested heavily in Ohio as well, and directly employ more than 26,000 Ohioans.
This close trading relationship occurs throughout the region. Last year, Iowa’s $3.4 billion in exports to Canada included more than $815 million worth of tractors and farm machinery, while Iowa purchased $2.5 billion in goods from Canadian companies. Iowa’s insurance service sector benefited as well, with Canadians purchasing $67 million in insurance-related products.
The bilateral trading relationship extends to agriculture as well. The 11 Midwestern states accounted for one-third of all agricultural exports to Canada in 2015 — $8.4 billion in exports from the region, out of a total of $25 billion in U.S. farm exports. Wisconsin led the way, with $1.4 billion in agricultural exports, followed by Illinois, Ohio and Michigan.
Brereton says he is “very encouraged” about the cooperative tone set by Trudeau and Trump. He adds that continuing advances toward a smooth and efficient border will help all traders, particularly farmers and manufacturers in the Midwest.