Wednesday, February 27, 2002
The Chronicle Herald

AIMS touts Atlantica trade zone

By Bruce Erskine, Business Reporter

NOTE: The following is an extract from a larger article

The events of Sept. 11 could help foster development of a northeastern U.S.-Canada trade zone dubbed Atlantica by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

“It makes sense for us, their biggest trading partner and closest ally, to work with (the U.S.),” institute president Brian Crowley said in an interview after addressing Parliament’s foreign affairs and international trade committee Tuesday in Halifax.

The committee is also studying the agenda for this year’s G8 summit to be held in Kananaskis, Alta., in June.

Mr. Crowley said Halifax is already seeing the impact of Sept. 11 with U.S. customs working on port security issues with Canada Customs.

“Ultimately a system will emerge where U.S. and Canadian officials carry out inspections,” he said, adding the Atlantic region’s economy could suffer without that kind of cross-border co-operation.

The institute says the North American Free Trade Agreement provides an economic framework for renewing historical trade links between Atlantic Canada, New England, New York and Quebec.

And while economic growth in the U.S. northeast is still being frustrated by local and international boundaries that impede the flow of investment and labour, the institute said there have been improvements in recent years.

“The cessation of Canadian transportation subsidies has reintegrated a north-south economic corridor. From 1995 to 2000, trade between Canada and the northeast United States has increased between 45 and 50 per cent.”