Canada’s investment in its trade infrastructure, including trade gateways and corridors, has slipped badly against its main global competition and requires a comprehensive strategy to regain the reputation as a reliable partner for international markets.
That is the core message MHCA President Chris Lorenc will deliver to the annual Deputy Ministers’ Dinner October 27, of which MHCA is a presenting sponsor. The event, hosted by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, welcomes deputy ministers and senior provincial officials at a dinner with Manitoba business leaders each year.
Lorenc’s address reminds the the guests trade accounts for 65% of Canada’s (and 53% of Manitoba’s) GDP but investment in the gateways and corridors that move goods around, in and out of Canada needs a significant boost.
“Trade depends upon the efficient movement of goods and services on highways, rail and air. Anything delivered to the doorstep ends its last mile on a road. But, if you can’t move it, you can’t sell it.
“Canada is seriously lagging in the level of investment in maintaining and building new trade infrastructure. Canada – a prolific trading nation producing more goods that we can consume domestically – still does not have a sustained trade infrastructure investment strategy.”
On the other hand, Canada’s competition for global trade – the United States, European Union, Korea, Australia – have for years employed such strategies to identify, prioritize and invest in nation-building infrastructure renewal.
“Canada must catch up to compete, to move ahead.”
Lorenc notes Premier Stefanson has made economic recovery and growth a key priority. Last month, she became Chair of the Council of the Federation. In the news release, the Premier said infrastructure investment is among the top files she will champion as Chair in the meetings with her colleague premiers.
In August, the Canada West Foundation on behalf of 5 leading national organizations wrote to the Manitoba Premier asking her to champion a significant increase in the investment in Canada’s national trade gateways and corridors.
Canada West in May released its report From Shovel Ready to Shovel Worthy highlighting the challenges Canada faces in competing not just to maintain but to capture an increased share of global trade markets.