Canada’s conflict with the United States over the Nexus trusted-traveller program ought to be resolved properly earlier than the president and prime minister meet in December, Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne mentioned Friday.
Champagne, who was in Washington, D.C., to satisfy with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, mentioned he raised the difficulty along with his U.S. counterpart for example of a state of affairs that might be within the curiosity of each international locations to resolve promptly.
“If I look at the challenges that we’re facing, I would say this should be an easy one to resolve, because after all, this is about making sure that the border is as fluid as possible,” he advised a information convention.
“I certainly hope that we can resolve this issue way before the president and the prime minister (meet). I think there’s an understanding on both sides that what we want at this time is fluidity.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is anticipated to sit down down with President Joe Biden when the 2 leaders meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on the so-called Three Amigos summit in Mexico City in December.
A face-to-face between Trudeau and Biden might come ahead of that, nonetheless: Biden has but to make his long-promised, oft-delayed first go to to Canada since turning into president. White House officers have refused to say when that journey would possibly happen.
While Nexus enrolment centres within the U.S. have been open since April, the 13 centres in Canada have remained closed because the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
That’s as a result of Customs and Border Protection will not ship U.S. brokers to employees them except they get the identical measure of authorized safety brokers at present have at ports of entry like airports and the Canada-U.S. border.
Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., raised eyebrows final week when she mentioned the Nexus program was being “held hostage” as a part of a unilateral U.S. effort to renegotiate the phrases of the settlement.
She went additional, calling the U.S. ways “heavy-handed” and out of character with what has in any other case been a cordial and co-operative relationship with Canada.
Champagne refused to say whether or not Raimondo was receptive to his considerations concerning the Nexus program.
“We want to be competitive, we are in a time of high inflation,” he mentioned.
“It is incumbent upon us to make sure that we resolve this issue, as we always do with our American friends, to make sure that the officers get back to their offices so that these Nexus cards can be issued.”
The dispute might be a minor one within the context of Canada’s efforts over the course of the final yr to influence the U.S. to desert its plans for a tax-incentive scheme for electrical automobiles that might have excluded Canadian-made automobiles and vans.
Those efforts paid off in August when Biden signed into regulation the Inflation Reduction Act, a multibillion-dollar tax, local weather and well being spending bundle that incentivizes not solely Canadian-made EVs, however these with batteries made with essential minerals from trade-friendly international locations, together with Canada.
Canada additionally stands to learn from the CHIPS Act, a brand new U.S. regulation designed to assist develop a extra resilient provide chain and manufacturing base for semiconductors and wean the world from its dependence on China.
Those incentives have already helped to kick-start essential mineral and battery manufacturing initiatives in Canada, Champagne mentioned.
“It’s in the U.S.’s best interest to make sure that both Canada and the U.S. remain competitive, because if you want resilience in the supply chain, you need Canada to be part of the equation – there’s no there’s no way around that,” he mentioned.
“In everyone’s mind, Canada’s part of the equation.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Oct. 21, 2022