Today, Representative Bill Owens applauded Canada's proposed 2014 budget, which was delivered to Parliament earlier this week. The proposal outlined Canada's trade agenda and highlighted its accomplishments over the last year.
"Canada's proposed budget reflects the ruling party's strong commitment to our vital trade partnership," Rep. Bill Owens said. "I applaud Canada's investments in port-of-entry infrastructure over the previous year and the nation's future support for programs that speed the flow of goods and people crossing the border."
The Harper Administration's budget includes the following items that are relevant to New York's 21st Congressional District:
The budget highlights the completion of the first joint Border Infrastructure Investment Plan and confirmed Canadian border expansion projects. Two of the plan's projects, which were first announced in 2013, are located directly across the border from the 21st Congressional District. The first is a $60 million project at the Landsdowne, Ontario crossing, which connects Canada to the United States via the Thousand Islands Bridge. The second is a $47 million project at the Lacolle, Quebec border crossing, which connects Canada and the United States at the Champlain Port of Entry via the Adirondack Northway (I-87).
The budget highlighted the expansion of the NEXUS program, which permits trusted American and Canadian travelers to cross the border more efficiently. Last year, participation in the program grew to 917,000. According to the Canadian government, that represents a 50 percent increase since the Beyond the Border Action Plan was originally announced. Last year, eight NEXUS lanes were added at U.S.-Canada border crossings.
Last year, the Canadian government increased the threshold for low-value commercial shipments that were eligible for expedited customs clearance into Canada. The change expedited an additional 1.5 million annual shipments, saving money for shippers who import into Canada. Canada is America's largest export destination.
The Harper Government re-affirmed its commitment to the expansion of pilot programs to pre-inspect cargo crossing the US-Canada border. This expedited customs clearance process could play a significant role in expediting trade and alleviating border wait times.
The budget pledges Canada's sustained commitment to programs that strengthen the U.S.-Canada trade relationship. The annual two-way trade in goods and services between America and its largest trading partner, Canada, equals more than $700 billion annually.
"The Canadian government is continuing to follow through on its border commitments, which is good news for the North Country." Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and Co-Chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council said. "This includes completion of funding for the planned improvements we have long sought at the Canadian border crossings at Lacolle and Lansdowne. We thank Prime Minister Harper for continuing to implement all of the elements of the Beyond the Border Action Plan, and we thank Congressman Owens as well as Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and our Canadian partners for their advocacy and partnership."
"I applaud Prime Minister Harper for his commitment to expand the vital trade relationship between our nations. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Canada, New York, and Washington to ensure this relationship thrives," Rep. Bill Owens said.
Rep. Owens is the co-chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus. He represents New York's 21st Congressional District, which spans 16,000 square miles and includes 13 border crossings.