May 16th, Bob Masterson, CIAC President and CEO, and David Podruzny, Vice-President Business and Economics, appeared in front of the Standing Committee on International Trade to discuss the importance of sound trade policies for the competitiveness of Canada’s chemistry industry.
During his opening remarks, Masterson conveyed three key messages:
- The global chemistry industry is a large, fast growing industry with deeply interconnected patterns of trade. Annual chemistry sales will likely exceed $6 trillion from 2020 onwards.
- Canada’s position within this highly integrated global sector is at an inflection point. The availability of abundant, low cost natural gas liquids arising from the shale gas phenomenon has resulted in over 300 global scale chemistry investments worth $250 billion in the United States, which could displace significant exports from Canada.
- There are opportunities to change the current pathway and allow Canada’s chemistry sector to flourish and make important contributions to the domestic economy and global environment. For Canada to seize these opportunities we need to: be prepared to negotiate a modernized NAFTA agreement; pay more attention to investment competitiveness; and consider market diversification, especially for Canada’s energy and manufacturing sectors.
When asked about NAFTA during the question period, Masterson explained that the negotiations should address:
- Improvements to rule of origin requirement
- Maintaining current tariff-free trade for qualified products
- Customs and trade facilitation
- Digital trade, and regulatory harmonization and cooperation
- Enhanced regulatory cooperation among all three jurisdictions
Masterson’s opening remarks can be seen below: