The Minister of International Trade shares the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s position that increases to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) fees will hurt Canadian truckers and put a dent in cross-border trade.
“I am concerned that proposed increases to fees by (APHIS) would impose disproportionate costs on Canadian exporters and commercial transporters, with detrimental effects on our cross-border trade and ultimately on the prosperity of both countries. My concerns have been formally submitted to the U.S. government,” the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, said in a statement.
Fast pointed out Canada is by far the largest customer for U.S. goods and services, with bilateral trade in goods and services for 2013 was valued at $782 billion – or $1.5 million every minute. “We want to grow this relationship, not stifle it,” he said.
While the government inspection fees should cover the costs of doing business, the proposed APHIS fees “unduly affect goods that travel across the border by truck, which represent the majority of Canada-U.S. trade.,” he said, adding the new APHIS fees are expected to cost the Canadian trucking industry an additional $15.5 million.
“Given the unique nature of our trading relationship, Canada-U.S. trade is expected to suffer disproportionately when compared to other country trading relationships with the United States. The market distortion that is being created may not be consistent with U.S. international trade obligations.”
CTA recently released a legal opinion that the APHIS fees are inconsistent with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
Fast also pointed to President Obama and Prime Minister Harper’s Beyond the Border Action Plan, which identify joint priorities and actions to accelerate the legitimate flows of people and goods between both countries, while strengthening security and economic competitiveness.
“Significant measures have been undertaken and are under way through this initiative. We request that the proposed APHIS fee changes take into account both the spirit and ideals embodied in this shared vision, as well as the reality of our low-risk, high-volume trade.”
Meanwhile, other groups are adding their voice in opposing the fees. Canada’s meat processors, packers and suppliers are echoing the trucking industry’s concerns while a number of American shippers have also sided with Canadians in protest of the fees.
CTA is building momentum through both the traditional media as well on the social media fronts. For Twitter, specifically, CTA created the hashtag #noAPHIShike to allow businesses and the public to have their say on the issue. Just use the hashtag in your Twitter post. (See here: https://twitter.com/CanTruck/status/482604960535019520).