February 19, 2002


Study recommends ‘smart border’ between U.S. and Canada to minimize costs to auto companies

Detroit, Michigan – A new study by the U.S. Center for Automotive Research that examines the cost that the Canada-US border imposes on the North American automobile industry recommends developing a ‘smart border’ that will allow the safest, most efficient passage of people and goods between Canada and the United States.

The report, “The Canada-U.S. Border: An Automotive Case Study” will be released at the Automotive Parts Manufacturing Association (APMA) Regional Meeting, Tuesday, February 19th at 11:45 a.m. at the Windsor Hilton Hotel. Copies of the report will be available February 19 on the website of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade at www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca or on the website of the Center for Automotive Research at www.altarum.org.

Commissioned by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the study examined the cost that the Canada-US border imposes on the North American automobile industry. It takes into account the consequences of slowdowns at the border, inadequate infrastructure capacity and staffing levels, and inefficient processes.

The report, co-authored by David J. Andrea and Brett C. Smith, noted that automotive-related trade accounts for 20 percent of all Canada-US merchandise trade that was valued at $397 billion in 2000. Throughout the last decade, the Canadian and U.S. auto industries have become increasingly interdependent, resulting in greater growth rates for cross-border shipments of vehicles and parts.

“Keeping components flowing to the plants is the most critical issue facing plant and logistics managers, and is the major requirement throughout the entire system — including border operations,” the study notes. “Border delays create costly plant shut-downs, labour disruptions, and unnecessary
increases in inventory levels.”

“The concentration of the automotive industry in Ontario and the US Midwest underlines the regional significance of these issues,” said Canadian Consul General, John Tennant. “Canada puts the highest priority on making our borders secure and efficient. This study underlines the importance of developing a ‘smart border’ built on technology and increased co-ordination.”

This principle has been emphasized in the recently signed “Smart Border Declaration,” which outlines an aggressive 30-point Action Plan that will allow the safest, most efficient passage of people and goods between Canada and the United States. The action plan will enhance the technology, co-ordination and information sharing that are essential to safeguard the mutual security and strengthen cross-border commerce for the world’s largest binational trading relationship.

The APMA meeting and press announcement will be held in the Great Lakes Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel, 277 Riverside Dr. W., Windsor, Ontario.

The APMA is Canada’s national association representing OEM producers of parts, equipment, tools, supplies and services for the worldwide automotive industry.

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