The Canadian Chamber of Commerce last week unveiled its Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness for 2014.
The Canadian Chamber launched this initiative two years ago to draw attention to the barriers that it determined are holding back Canada’s progress and to urge all levels of government to act more swiftly to improve the country’s ability to compete globally.
One of the key barriers to competitiveness included in the report is “Inconsistent regulatory policies between Canada and the U.S.”
Inconsistencies between regulatory standards in Canada and the U.S. cost unnecessary time and money as these minor differences result in additional verification, inspection or testing of goods once they cross the border. Given the integrated nature of the two countries’ economies, greater alignment and better mutual reliance in their regulatory approaches would lower costs for businesses and consumers, create more efficient supply chains, facilitate cross-border trade, reduce regulatory administrative costs for government and make Canada a more attractive location for foreign investment.
The report indicates a number of sectors where the Canadian Chamber believes closer regulatory alignment with the U.S. makes particularly good sense. These include automotive, health and personal care products, and agriculture and food products.
To address this issue the Canadian Chamber will be pushing for faster results on regulatory harmonization at the joint Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council while also identifying potential new areas for regulatory harmonization. It will also be lobbying for the creation of “a permanent, bilateral and institutionalized mechanism for regulatory policy.”