Ottawa, January 31, 2017 – Senators welcomed news that the federal government is close to reaching an agreement on internal barriers to trade after the Senate committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce report made recommendations to address this multi-billion dollar problem.
Media reports suggest an agreement has emerged between the federal and provincial governments to reduce or eliminate a number of long-standing irritants that have stunted Canada’s economic prosperity. Experts believe eliminating internal barriers could add between $50 billion and $130 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product.
The Committee released a report in June 2016, Tear Down These Walls: Dismantling Canada’s Internal Trade Barriers, which states that Canada’s international free trade agreements make it easier for foreign businesses to trade with Canada than for Canadian businesses to trade across provincial or territorial boundaries.
Senators also believe facilitating internal trade will provide a measure of insurance for the Canadian economy in view of potential changes to Canada’s trading relationship with the United States — our largest trading partner.
This agreement is particularly timely; the committee is currently studying the feasibility of a national corridor that would, among other things, facilitate the transfer of goods across Canada.
It remains to be seen how comprehensive the agreement will turn out to be. Senators want to know whether the agreement will cover long-standing problems with interprovincial wine transportation, for instance — like the recent case of a New Brunswick man who was charged under the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act after police found him bringing liquor and cases of beer into the province from Quebec.
The committee, however, is hopeful that the comprehensive agreement will be wider reaching than just the wine sector; senators are hopeful it will cover other sectors, such as energy, financial services and agriculture.
The committee will closely review details of the agreement when it is announced.
“We are relieved that the federal government has finally decided to act. The question is, will this new agreement be sufficient to take advantage of the vast, untapped economic potential of internal trade? My colleagues and I look forward to finding out.”
– Senator David Tkachuk, Chair of the committee.
“Our report is yet another example of how the Senate can contribute to important changes in public policy. I am pleased the federal and provincial governments appear to be taking steps toward the elimination of internal barriers to trade and I urge them to continue this important work.”
– Senator Joseph A. Day, Deputy Chair of the committee.
- Read the report, Tear Down These Walls: Dismantling Canada’s Internal Trade Barriers.
- Discover the Top 10 Weirdest Barriers to Trade.
- Follow the committee on social media using the hashtag #BANC.
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Media Relations Coordinator
Senate of Canada