Toronto – It was one of the most important and influential gatherings to discuss trade corridors ever held in Canada.

On April 25th, AIMS and other leading policy, trade and infrastructure experts from across Canada, the US and Mexico were in Toronto at the invitation of federal minister Tony Valeri for a landmark roundtable on trade corridors and their importance to Canada and the continent. In addition to AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley, speakers included Allan Gottlieb, Canada’s former Ambassador to the United States; Wendy Dobson, former President of the C.D. Howe Institute; and Michael Gallis, renowned advisor to governments trying to position themselves advantageously in the world trade network.

AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley talked to this prestigious group about Atlantica, the International Northeast Economic Region. Atlantica is defined chiefly by geography, economic trends and trade patterns; common problems and experiences; and politics. Much of this wedge of territory has been outside the charmed circle of North American prosperity for years.

“Continental free trade and globalization could put an end to the isolation of Atlantica,” says Crowley. “The east-west axis for development of North America is being supplemented by a drive to stitch back together the old north-south trade routes that had flourished across the continent before 1867.”

The president of the Work Research Foundation and chair of the Trade Corridor Partnership, Michael Van Pelt, recently wrote a commentary for The National Post in which he explained why Atlantica and other trade corridors are so important.

“Europe is now pouring money into the construction project known as the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia. With 100,000 kilometres of road, TRACECA hopes to boost volumes in this trans-Eurasian corridor from 1.9 million tonnes in 1997 to 34 million tonnes by 2010. Similarly, Asian nations are planning an Asian Highway network, AH 1, also known as “the New Silk Road.” This network will span some 140,000 kilometres of road stretching across Asia to Europe. Although Canada and the U.S. possess a trading relationship second to none in the world, we cannot take it for granted, at risk of being left behind,” he wrote.

To read Michael Van Pelt’s full commentary, click here.