OTTAWA – With Joe Biden winning the US presidential election, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) issued a statement highlighting the importance of the role the Canadian federal government can play in defending Canadian manufacturers’ interests.
“Canada has the opportunity to renew and strengthen diplomatic ties with the US, which will serve to help both economies grow together,” CEM said in a statement.
“The United States and Canada enjoy the most comprehensive trading relationship in the world, and the stabilization of this trading partnership must be a priority. Along with Mexico and the United States — utilizing the recently enacted CUSMA — Canada has new opportunities to build, trade and work together as a powerful trading block.”
“Traditionally, Democrats have been more protectionist in their outlook,” explained Dennis Darby, CME president and CEO.
“Mr. Biden campaigned promising to strengthen the Buy American Acts and Buy America, and these policies may force Canadian companies to invest in or relocate to the United States. To support manufacturing here in Canada, the government will have to offer a competitive business environment that includes important investment tax measures and find ways to ensure Canadian companies have access to the U.S. market in the same way that U.S. companies access ours.”
Strengthening diplomatic relations
CME argues that it will be necessary to reinforce diplomatic relations between Canada and the United States at the state and senatorial levels in order to maintain open market access. Canadian and American supply chains are highly integrated and require the two countries to work together to keep the North American market competitive.
Furthermore, it suggests it will be essential to identify key export sectors to promote, and make sure they have access to the necessary tools to increase their exports South of the border in the coming years.
“The past four years have been challenging and unpredictable for Canadian manufacturers doing business in the United States, as witnessed by the renegotiation of NAFTA and the tariffs on steel and aluminum. With Mr. Biden, it might be easier for companies to understand how to adjust to the Buy America and Buy America ACT. While these are certainly still protectionist measures, there should be more predictability for our companies,” added Darby.
A crucial partner
The global rise in protectionism and the drop in demand due to COVID-19 are having a negative impact on Canadian manufacturers, CME asserts. Therefore, government action must be strong and precise.
“The United States will remain a crucial economic partner for Canada. Our ties must remain strong, in that regard the interests of our exporting companies must be heard and taken into consideration. To this end, CME offers its full cooperation to the government of Canada,” Darby concluded.
Finally, it should be noted that manufacturing directly accounts for roughly 11 percent of Canada’s GDP and over 1.7 million Canadians are employed in this sector. Nearly two-thirds of Canada’s exports are manufactured goods, and more than 80 percent of these exports go to CUSMA partners.
CME is a member-driven association that directly represents more than 2,500 companies. They account for an estimated 82 percent of manufacturing output and 90 percent of Canada’s exports.