On May 18th, David Podruzny, CIAC Vice-President, Business and Economics, appeared in front of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to discuss the importance of trade to the Canadian chemistry sector.
Podruzny addressed several issues facing the sector in relation to U.S. trade, including competitiveness, lagging investment in the industry, and NAFTA negotiations.
More than 70 per cent of exports from the Canadian chemistry industry go directly to the U.S. and about two-thirds of all chemical imports in Canada come from there. “We can no longer afford to take for granted our competitive position and trade relationships vis-à-vis the United States,” Podruzny said.
CIAC believes Canada must be prepared to negotiate a modernized NAFTA agreement, which the U.S. is intent on renegotiating. NAFTA has facilitated the growth of complex supply chains, allowing products to cross the border multiple times during production, and it has helped lower the cost of chemical production and strengthened the role of the industry across North America.
Additionally, the new administration in Washington has made it clear they want to pursue a more competitive landscape for its manufacturing sector. In the last five years, Canada has only received about one per cent the value of U.S. investments.
“Absent a coordinated and appropriate response, Canada will be second in every investment decision in our sector,” Podruzny said. “If we are to retain and grow this valuable sector, which contributes to our quality of life and provides solutions to global challenges, we must respond – Canadian policy must be shaped to win, to make a difference.”
You can listen to the committee meeting here. Podruzny’s testimony starts at 9:59:49