Montreal, December 4, 2001 - The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal welcomes the announcement by Quebec Transport Minister Guy Chevrette of a $75 million investment in the development of a Quebec-New York trade corridor.
The state of New York is a key economic partner for Greater Montreal exporters and thus critical to a large part of the Montreal economy. Moreover, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal was the Quebec initiator of the plan to create a trade corridor between Quebec and New York State, the agreement for which was signed today by the Chambre de commerce du Québec and the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce. In the context of the current economic slowdown and the bogging down of trade with the United States since September 11, investments that will facilitate trade with the state of New York are particularly welcome, declared Guy Fréchette, president of the Board of Trade.
Nevertheless, he cautioned, the full benefits of a Quebec-New York trade corridor will not be felt unless the Canadian government, together with its U.S. counterpart, moves quickly to facilitate the cross-border traffic of goods.
This means not only supporting the efforts of the Quebec government to improve infrastructures at the Lacolle-Champlain border crossing but also working to establish a true North American security perimeter, he added
By a North American security perimeter, the Board of Trade is referring to measures that will protect Canadian and American citizens while allowing the free circulation of legitimate goods between the two countries. These measures range from increased cooperation with U.S. authorities on immigration procedures to the use of new technologies to accelerate border procedures and the improvement and construction of new infrastructures.
Yesterday's joint announcement by the Solicitor General of Canada, Lawrence MacAulay, Canada's Minister of Citizen and Immigration, Elinor Caplan, and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft of the signing of an agreement to boost law enforcement cooperation between Canada and the United States to enhance border security is certainly a step in the right direction. But there is still much work to be done to speed up the flow of Canadian exports across the border. We sincerely hope that the budget tabled by Canada's Finance Minister, Paul Martin, on December 10 will include additional investments aimed at facilitating cross-border trade, concluded Fréchette.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has more than 7 000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community. The objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the media and influence towards government and decision-makers.