May 17, 2011 - In today's Montreal Gazette, MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley and Stephen Blank discuss the barriers that are impeding the full recovery of the auto sector. Crowley and Blank write that there are a "number of public policy challenges, one of which is that the three NAFTA countries all continue to treat the auto industry - and others such as electronics, energy, and transportation - as discrete national businesses rather than integrated continental enterprises." They outline a number of solutions:
In this decentralized, dispersed model of production, transportation infrastructure is as important as production capacity. Maintaining efficient, secure and sustainable border crossings is a pivotal issue.
But in the post 9/11 border management, security has trumped efficiency.
While U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have agreed to work on reducing cross-border congestion through the creation of a perimeter security shield and by tackling the regulatory thicket that impedes our shared competitiveness, action on border congestion is needed immediately.
For example, Obama should intervene immediately to mitigate the special-interest objections to the construction of a new border crossing at Windsor-Detroit, where roughly a quarter of U.S.-Canada trade crosses.
Brian Lee Crowley is managing director of Canada's Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) and Stephen Blank is Senior Research Analyst at Arizona State University's North American Center for Transborder Studies. MLI recently published Mr. Blank's, Driving Continental Integration: Auto Manufacturing and the Future of North America.