Deal between U.S. and Canada reinforces the need for the New International Trade Crossing

Auto industry pleased by border deal

Harper, Obama pledged to expedite the movement of goods

By Grace Macaluso, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. — Canada’s auto industry Wednesday applauded the joint action plan on border protection designed to ease trade and travel between Canada and the United States.

“We are very pleased,” said Mark Nantais, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, which represents such car companies as Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. “The direction is what the industry has asked for.”

The wide-ranging plan, unveiled by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama, pledged to expedite the movement of goods. There will be screening of cargo from foreign countries to Canada and the U.S., so that it is screened just once for both nations, the document stated.

Click here to read the entire article.

More Canadian manufacturers encountering difficulty as they try to cross into the U.S.

New Brunswick Business Journal

Natalie Stechyson

A growing number of Canadian manufacturers are having trouble crossing the border to do business in the United States, according to Canada’s largest trade and industry association.

The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been increasingly hearing from its members that they're having difficulty getting into the U.S.

The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters has been increasingly hearing from its members that they’re having difficulty getting into the U.S., said Jean-Michel Laurin, vice-president, Global Business Policy.

The nature of business is changing, Laurin said, and the rules need to, as well. A lot of the value now comes from after-sale service and designing the product with the customer. More and more, manufacturers need to physically meet with their clients. This means travelling to the United States more often, Laurin said.

“What our members are telling us is travel and meeting their customers has become increasingly important in today’s world,” Laurin said.

“The world is evolving, so I think we need to take a look at what we can do to facilitate cross-border business travel.”

Sales people going for meetings or trade shows run into hassles at the airport or border, according to a report by the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. Maintenance technicians are often stopped or turned away if they’re trying to cross the border to repair a specialized piece of equipment.

In one case, a British Columbia businessman was detained for trying to cross into the state of Washington without a written contract, Laurin said.

Almost 90 per cent of New Brunswick’s exports go to the United States, but the province’s manufacturers have not been experiencing the same level of border issues as in the rest of Canada, said David Plante, the vice-president of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

“New Brunswick seems, at least, to have fewer problems with many of the regulatory measures put into place to enhance security,” Plante said.

“From an anecdotal perspective, the fact that New Brunswick may be experiencing fewer difficulties may be due to the long-standing relationships that have been developed with our New England neighbours, particularly with Maine.”

Many of New Brunswick’s companies have been crossing the border for “a great many decades,” Plante said, which may contribute to there being a degree of familiarity.

Still, issues do exist, Plante said, although they seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters hosted a members-only webinar for cross-border business on Aug. 30, and about 80 members signed up. The most important take-home message for manufacturers is that they can’t just jump on a plane or get into their car to cross the border anymore, Laurin said.

“Even though we have NAFTA and we have provisions that facilitate business travel, we can’t forget that this is a different country. It’s worth spending a little bit of time before you cross the border to make sure you have all the information that you need,” Laurin said.

“Think ahead of what you might need and make sure you know all the rules so you don’t get caught off guard.”

Close to 20 million Canadians entered the United States last year, up 11 per cent from 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Boosting the Great Lakes International Economy

Brookings Institution

The regions on both sides of the Great Lakes international border need to team up to strengthen their highly integrated economies.

That was the conclusion of over 250 public and private leaders from both the United States and Canada recently brought together by Brookings and the University of Toronto Mowat Centre in Detroit-Windsor

The tone was set by Bruce Katz’s keynote–where he pressed for international metro action to expand exports and encouraged the industrial Great Lakes to seize and lead the low-carbon, clean-tech economy.

Overall, two topics dominated discussion by delegates as ripe for international teamwork.

One was building the 21st century transportation infrastructure the region needs as a platform for enhanced exports–and in particular building a state-of-the-art span connecting Detroit and Windsor, the world’s highest dollar international trade crossing point. Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, and Canada’s Consul General Roy Norton were pitching hard for the Michigan Legislature to follow Governor Rick Snyder’s call, and vote final approval for the new bridge.

The New International Trade Crossing has been 10 years in the planning, and is strongly backed by business leaders and governments on both sides of the border. It seemed a done-deal when Gov. Snyder announced that Ontario would pay cash-strapped Michigan’s share of the project, and in turn the U.S. Department of Transportation would let the Canadian dollars stand-in as Michigan’s match for federally-funded highway projects across Michigan.

The project keeps being sabotaged by the aging billionaire Mattie Maroun (born 1927), owner of the equally aging Ambassador Bridge (built 1929), fighting hard to keep a monopoly on toll traffic.

Maroun has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Michigan State legislators, and bankrolled groups that are behind dirty tricks that would make Donald Segretti blush, including fake eviction notices at the doors of homeowners near the proposed bridge and patently false TV spots claiming Michigan taxpayers will foot the bill.

Meanwhile the whole $250 billion economic relationship with Canada is at risk, as the tightly wound manufacturing, agricultural, and commerce supply chains are bottlenecked–just at a moment they are poised to grow.

Another area for Great Lakes international teamwork is converting the region’s prodigious innovation, technology-base, and manufacturing talent to support new jobs and leadership in the clean-technology market. Recent Brookings research shows Michigan already 12th in the nation in share of clean-tech jobs and confirmed the jobs potential of clean-tech growth.

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell made the point, “I can think of nothing more important than a more robust, and better harmonized Great Lakes renewable energy portfolio standard to drive job creation in the clean energy sector.”

Heartwell was articulating the market opportunities seen by business leaders in West Michigan, who feel well positioned to grow product lines and new jobs developing and manufacturing clean-energy and clean water solutions. When Gov. Snyder showed up in West Michigan to give his first “Reinvent Michigan Award” to Energetx, a wind turbine and electric vehicle parts supplier, the former venture capitalist was also petitioned by a 40-member delegation of clean energy business buddies, asking him to better support these emerging markets with more aggressive public policy.

As the Brookings study shows, clean-tech is one emerging arena in which to repurpose the engineering and manufacturing competencies of the Great Lakes to replace jobs lost in auto and other sectors–if state and metro leaders provide the supportive policy platform.

Readers’ response – In favor of a new bridge to Canada

Livingston Daily

When we asked our Reader’s Panel if Michigan should work on a public/private partnership to build a new bridge to Canada, we got many responses. Below are all of the responses from people in favor of building a new bridge. Comments have been slightly edited for spelling, capitalization and clarity.

To ease traffic congestion — Lynn Sellers

It will put people to work. I don’t feel one family should own the only link between Detroit and Canada. — Edith Salyer

Relief of truck traffic in both Detroit and Windsor, reduce long lines of cars/trucks at Detroit Bridge when that occurs I like competition! — Michael Houran

To ease the flow of traffic. — Deborah Suiter

In the future I believe we will need a second span. The circumstances presented by our neighbors in Windsor and Ontario, present a vision of how they want their traffic to be routed. We should cooperate with thin in helping to make the whole region a better place to live. The proximity of the Del Ray community to the steel making complex on Zug Island as well as the other Industrial Processing Facilities in the area, make it really unsuitable for the neighborhood development. — Tom Little

If the funding is there. I don’t want the state to go any further in debt if we can’t afford it. It would ease congestion to have another way to get to/from Canada. Also could add jobs. — Michelle Vincent

It is too congested when you go to downtown Detroit. — Greg Smigielski

There seems to be a need for it and the funding is available now. The only real opposition seems to be from the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, who will lose money if this goes though. — Heather Knop

We need to prepare for the future. It will provide jobs and make Michigan easier to get to, which would mean money coming into the state. My understanding is that in the end, most of the cost will be covered by private investors. — Gerri Andrews

I believe we do need a second bridge. Canada will not allow the owners of the Ambassador Bridge to build a second bridge next to the first one because of the horrible traffic congestion in Windsor and they do not want to build a second one anywhere else. — Cheryl Touhey

Tie ups at borders are getting out of hand. — Anne Levy

Only if it’s needed. — Bette Kelly

International bridge should be owned by the people of Michigan and not an independent business man who has already shown his hand at playing politics. — Greg Perkins

Tired of the long wait time to get through, it has been needed for more than 30 years! — Karen Butler

To help the economics in Michigan, a quicker better way is needed. — Gary Dragan

Need to have another crossing point. Last year when the Sarnia crossing was offline, traffic was forced to go with the Windsor/Detroit crossing  — long lines happened. Also, the new crossing will help trucks, by not having them go through Windsor before the main highway — Ted Pfeiffer

It is strange a private entity owns the bridge. It is an international crossing, a public entity should own it. — Gretchen Hertz

Relieve traffic, help move business faster — Adam Williams

We need another bridge to handle all the truck traffic — Diane Monaco

Improve trade — Mary Scheloske

We need one — Jose Ruiz

The amount of traffic between the two countries demands it — Larry Newman

This is one of the busiest border crossings with Canada and the only one with just a single bridge for commercial traffic. To make a viable second bridge, it has to be separated by distance from the existing one in order that a single event would be less likely to close both bridges. I believe that it is also better to move the commercial traffic to an area away from the congestion on both sides in order to decrease the time in crossing and there by making it more likely to allow for an increase in the commercial traffic. — Ron Charette

A second span is needed to provide for traffic flow — Jane Baxter

I would rather have a private owned. However, I feel Windsor will never approve the expansion as they do not want the truck traffic going through the business district — Elaine Samson

I understand the old bridge is aging and the owner would like to build another one themselves. The financing agreement with Canada sounds very good for both the U.S. and Canada. I do not like them buying the depot and letting it become an eyesore, that is so irresponsible! Is it possible to use the old bridge and the new one as one-way traffic. — Joan Thomas

Bridge has only one span and is vulnerable to attack. Current bridge is not being maintained well enough. — Sherry Spehar

I don’t look at it competing with the present bridge but rather to help with our abundant amount of truck traffic delivering goods back and forth. I have been on the bridge as long as 1 1/2 hours at times. I can only see this as a plus not to mention the number of jobs it would create. — Judith DesMarais

Would alleviate long waits at the border. — Bob Culver

I think it would make bridge traffic move more quickly, it would bring some construction jobs to the state, and I think the owners of the Ambassador Bridge have been dishonest in their advertising and other propaganda. — Beth Smith

The current bridge is a mess and we also need a backup in this uncertain world we live in. Also the current bridge owner is free to raise rates at his will. The Big Mac Bridge is a money maker, so why can’t this one be too? — Doug Becker

The current bridge does not meet the needs of the people, trucks. I have family living in Windsor and they also feel that a second bridge is needed. — Sharon Powell

Don’t think Detroit can afford it and don’t think we really need it — Sherry Korbie

For the sake of future business development — Susan Thomas

International trade= Economic growth. This issue is a simple one to understand. — Robert Lupton

More access. Less congestions on current bridge. — Paula Bullard

Major construction projects such as this bridge will take many years to complete. if we wait until traffic studies show it is required it will result in traffic congestion for years, while we wait for it to be built. When the second bridge was built in Port Huron, the traffic using it far exceeded the projects within a very short time. — Bruce Gearns

I think it would be good for the economy. — Gail L. Foresman

The Ambassador Bridge is way post it’s prime, and having a second bridge would allow better transportaion flow. Anyone who has sat on that bridge for 2+ hours would agree. — Suzanne Skwarski

Traffic moves extremely slow with the present bridge — Joe Peterson

There needs to be a more modern bridge with more lanes to provide for trade growth between Michigan and Canada in the future. Any new bridge should be owned by the public. The current privately owned bridge has been source of great wealth to the family that owns it and they have not provided any support for the community around it, much less make added profits from illegal gas pump stations instead of completing their responsibilities to complete the ramp requirements with the government funded entrance off I-75. Obviously, money is more important [to] the bridge owners than community responsibilities. — Ed Wyrembelski

This will provide construction jobs plus, with infrastructure improvements, it’s true that ‘if you build it, they will come.’ The opportunity of faster passage from Detroit to Windsor and visa versa will brow the business crossing in that area. — Dennis Galloway

More competition. Would relieve congestion at current bridge and tunnel — Carol Rembor

The existing bridge company needs the competition. They know now, that they will have to compete against a company/government that is better than they are. The monopoly is over for them. — Thom Ostafin

It would relieve traffic jams, commerce between U.S. and Canada would improve with better flow of traffic, and the monopoly of the privately owned bridge needs to be open to competition. — Dorothy Zayan-Coppola

Another bridge is important as an alternative in case the existing bridge or tunnel have maintenance problems or are closed for terrorist attacks, or a ship runs into one and damamges it. It’s important to have additional back-up border crossings, as well as another route for commerce to try. Finally, it’s important that America’s link to Canada isn’t soley the existing one in private hands. The private owner makes millions of dollars, yet could shut off the flow of traffic if he wanted. This proposed bridge would not cost Michigan tax payers any money- but would be a shot in the arm for the whole economy. Build it! — Jim Pratt

The USA and Canada need to have better options for commerce to move back and forth between the countries. What we will also need to do, however, is keep some commerce in the State of Michigan itself (not just travel through). — Mark Trudeau

Ever since I read in the paper that the owner of the Ambassador Bridge was in the process of buying up the land that would be needed for the new bridge, not to try to stop them, but to make a profit, I felt he really wasn’t too worried about having two! — Karen Schulkins

Why not have a little competition? Plus it would create jobs for Michigan. Much, much needed! — Stacy Plante

The additional bridge is needed to accomodate the traffic across the border. It is an investment in Michigan’s future — Kathleen Goetsch

Well most people listen to the propaganda put out without checking the facts. The negative ads were put out by the owner of the existing bridge. He does not want competition. Plus the borders are busy with waits. We need more options. And it is true we won’t be paying for it and it would benefit with money coming from the federal gov. People are stupid and don’t check the facts. And the media likes to print one side and not always check. So I research myself to decide. — Sharon Heath

Competition is always good. We need to keep the trade between the two North American countries intact. — Bonnie White

I have not heard any good arguments why it shouldn’t be build and we definitely need a second bridge. — Jane Weitzel

Canadian officials have made it VERY clear that they do not want the new bridge to be located near the current Ambassador Bridge location. They are paying for part of this. Let Maroun build the new bridge(s) in the location that the Canadians have requested and just keep the old one where it is. — Michael Scholtz

We need the additional capacity to prevent backlogs and delays at the border crossing. — Bob Smith

Provide competition to the current entity — Michael Adrian

Because it would help move truck traffic faster across the border and also would help to make customs faster when crossing the border. — Ed Schroeder

There are 3 main reasons I feel this way. Primarily, it will alliviate congestion at the border crossing. A secondary bridge will allow for a better flow of traffic to and from Canada for both commuters and international transport (trucking) of goods. In addition, competition with the existing border crossing/bridge, will only encourage both parties to provide the best possible services and operational efficiancies to the customer. Finally, like most large infrastructure improvement endeavors, it will provide the beneficial consequence of additional employment in the short and long term. — Vince Bond

The Ambassador bridge is old. — Kenneth Ciszewski

Anything which has the ability to add competition and opportunity for greater business activity will help the Michigan economy. Building the bridge will add jobs when we need them the most. — Jim Jonas

It is needed to keep Michigan as the leading port to Canada. — Jerry Lindsay

Traffic over the bridge is ‘always’ heavy and backed up. A second bridge would hlep to east the traffic on the tunnel and existing bridge — John Utter

Good for commerce, and will create a means to alleviate bottlenecks at the other international bridges & tunnel. — Mary C. Scott

Current span is old and a bottle neck for traffic. — Bill Wilkin

I think that any money coming from a bridge should come to Michigan. No one should be able to get rich by owning a bridge. — Rochelle Andros

I feel that the current bridge is getting older and in need of repairs, and people could use an alternate choice in case of repairs, or just the fact that the bridge gets backed up (when there is an accident). I really have not looked into all of the pros and cons but if it does not cost taxpayers and arm and a leg with the profit going to a private citizen it will help all of us. — Claudia Kulling

Looking forward, and pre-planning never hurts. — Les Prieskorn

End the dawdling on bridge proposal

Livingston Daily

While Gov. Rick Snyder had significant success in the first six months of his initial term in office, his bridge to Canada so far has been, if not a Bridge to Nowhere, then a Nowhere Bridge.

The new governor hoped the public-private bridge would be approved in June. As proposed, the new bridge would offer an alternative to the aging and privately owned Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario.

It didn’t happen because his fellow Republicans in the Legislature aren’t sold on the idea. Some may be reluctant for the government to compete directly with a private venture. Others say they want guarantees that the bridge is needed and that the Michigan taxpayer is truly off the hook, as is claimed by Snyder, his predecessor and the Canadian government.

Prudence is a good thing. Lawmakers should do due diligence. But there needs to be swift action this fall. Republicans should either approve the package or give clear, explicit reasons for their opposition. So far, the opposition has been more like foot-dragging and mumbling about not getting all their questions answered. As such, Republicans are sounding like enablers for Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun, a lavish political contributor who earns more money every day the project is delayed.

It is time for lawmakers — and that includes Livingston County’s Republican trio of state Sen. Joe Hune and state Reps. Cindy Denby and Bill Rogers — to get off the fence. They’ve been able to cut taxes to business without any proof that it will produce jobs. They are willing to reform tenure (Rogers), bail out financially stressed townships (Denby) and deprive the state of $300 million by cutting tobacco taxes (Hune).

They ought to be able to take a position on the bridge.

It’s possible to oppose the bridge on the strictly philosophical reason that the government shouldn’t get involved. That would be odd, since almost all border bridges are run by governments. But it’s still a defensible position.
If lawmakers won’t oppose the new bridge on philosophical grounds, then there are a few arguments come down to these:

What is the cost to Michigan taxpayers? Supporters say there is none. Canada will front Michigan’s $500 million share for road improvements, expecting to get repaid through toll receipts. State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, has introduced legislation that specifically says the state has no financial vulnerability. If Republican lawmakers think their governor and Senate leader are stupid or liars, they need to say so. Otherwise, the claim that tax dollars are at risk appears to be bogus.

If not this bridge, then what is the alternative? Government and business leaders say a new bridge is needed, even though traffic is down over the last decade. They say backups at the Ambassador Bridge and at the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron hurt the economy. Further, the lack of bridge capacity will strangle future economic growth. The Ambassador Bridge is nearing its 100-year life span. Moroun agrees a new bridge should be built, but he wants to do it at his current site. The Canadian government, though, opposes the plan because it doesn’t want truck traffic dumped in downtown Windsor. If the Canadians won’t approve Moroun’s bridge, then what alternative plan are Republicans proposing?

Are state Republicans willing to turn their backs on $2 billion in road money? Snyder pulled a coup by getting the federal government to count the Canadian money as the state’s match that is required to qualify for federal highway funds. Michigan roads are atrocious, and this batch of Republicans is hardly inclined to raise gas taxes to fix them. Even if they did, there is still $2 billion in federal money — which state residents sent to Washington in the first place — sitting on the table. That offer won’t be there forever. How in good conscience can Lansing lawmakers put those funds at risk?

If Lansing takes action, the bridge is still not a sure thing. The projections for increased traffic are not universally accepted. It remains to be seen if private investors will find the bonds attractive if they are not supported by the full faith and credit of the state.

But that’s a decision for investors to make. Lawmakers have a obligation to the voters — and the unemployed citizens — of this state. They need to make a decision and, if they are opposed, clearly explain and defend their position.

Otherwise, their dawdling increasingly appears as a willingness to serve the needs of Moroun rather than the needs of their constituents.

Border action plan

Getting trade, traffic back on track


Quietly, Canada and the United States are moving toward an agreement that could fix many of the border problems that have developed since 9-11.

An “action plan” to address major issues – including congestion and restrictions on the flow of goods and services and cross-border trade – is being developed by negotiating teams from each country and is expected to be tabled in September.

The initiative stems from a commitment made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama last February to craft a border deal that will cut through the bureaucratic red tape that’s stifling trade and traffic between Canada and the U.S.

Both Harper and Obama are trying to find a compromise that will put safety and trade on an equal footing. The overall goal is to create a continental security perimeter, to better share information, facilitate the free flow of goods and services and make the necessary infrastructure improvements at border crossings.

Last week, the process of fixing the border moved forward in Windsor when the President’s Export Council met with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

The export council has a mandate to double U.S. exports over the next five years, and increasing trade with Canada is one of the key areas to help reach that goal.

Chrysler Canada CEO Reid Bigland and Ford of Canada president David Mondragon pointed out to the export council that border delays are costing both the auto industry and its customers millions of dollars in wasted time and money each year.

“At Ford, we add an hour to every trip to account for delays and inefficiencies at the border and that adds about $200 to the cost of each unit,” said Mondragon. “With 750,000 vehicles built in the U.S. exported to Canada and Canadian companies exporting 1.7 million vehicles to the U.S., it works out to $500 million in costs that add no value to the vehicle or to the consumer.”

That is an extraordinary number, and arguably just a fraction of the economic costs of a poorly functioning border. In fact the auto industry represents about onefifth of the trade that crosses the border each day.

The free flow of goods is also another reason as the CEOs pointed out the American guests – including U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson – that both countries’ economies are being hamstrung while Michigan waits to deal with construction of the new downriver bridge.

“We have heard throughout today’s meetings that the key issues are the physical barriers at the border,” said Stephanie Burns, chairperson of Dow Corning Corporation and a member of Obama’s export council. “The consensus all day has been ‘just get it done.’

“We will take that message back to Washington.” Hopefully, the council will also remind Americans that Canada is the United States’ largest customer and is the No. 1 export market for 34 states.

The bottom line is that both the security perimeter and new downriver crossing will lead to jobs and economic growth on both sides of the border. The issue is to move quickly on both fronts.

Canada: Michigan’s Strongest Global Trading Partner

The Greater Lansing Business Monthly

Michigan has a unique relationship with Canada due to our close proximity to our friendliest neighbor and ally.  We all know the Canadians love their hockey, excel at the Winter Olympic Games, and make really good beer – eh! But how many people think about Canada much beyond that? The 3,854,082 square miles (or 9.984,670 km2 if you’re reading outside the United States) that make up Canada are often dismissed by U.S. citizens as the “51st state.”  It’s not well known that Canada is an important economic contributor and the number one international trading partner for Michigan—and the entire United States.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to spend some quality time traveling to and through Canada for work and pleasure, visiting numerous cities, camping out (and the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is an absolute must-see). No matter where I’ve travelled in Canada, the people have always been more than friendly. Although they are relatively quiet when talking about U.S. politics, most of the Canadians I’ve encountered are envious of our comparatively low tax structure and have a love for American-made products.

Michigan’s relationship with Canada goes well beyond friendly faces and beautiful scenery, however. Canada is our state’s most important trading partner, which is a relationship that benefits our businesses and is responsible for thousands of jobs right here in the Greater Lansing area.

The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce partnered with Michigan State University’s Global Business Club to host the Canadian Consul General Roy Norton for a luncheon at the Kellogg Center in May. One hundred business and community leaders gathered to hear Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Consul General Norton comment about the significant relationship between Canada and Michigan. Both speakers spelled out in specific detail the extent in which Michigan and Canada rely on each other for economic growth and prosperity. Below are some statistics and information that clearly demonstrate how intertwined our two economies are:


In 2010, Michigan exported over $44.5 billion worldwide. Canada bought 49 percent of Michigan’s exports, which was $21.7 billion of Michigan goods and services.

  • 36 percent – Amount Michigan increased exports to Canada compared to 2009
  • 362.4 billion – Total value of trade between Michigan and Canada, up 42 percent compared to 2009
  • $715 million – Amount of exports Greater Lansing sent to Canada in 2009
  • 33 percent  – Percentage of U.S. companies that export only to Canada
  • 25 percent – Percentage of U.S. oil imports come from Canada, who possesses the world’s second largest reserves after Saudi Arabia
  • $258 million – Amount Canadian citizens spent while visiting Michigan in 2009

2010 Top Michigan Exports to Canada

Transportation Equipment: $12.8 b

Machinery: $1.6 b

Primary Metal Manufacturing: $1.5 b

Oil & Gas: $1.3 b

All Others: $4.6 b

2010 Top Michigan Imports from Canada

Transportation Equipment: $27.8 billion

Oil & Gas: $4.0 billion

Primary Metal Manufacturing: $2.3 billion

Machinery: $852 million

All Others: $5.7 billion


In 2010, 237,000 Michigan jobs depended on our two-way trade with Canada.

  • 9,500 – Ingham County jobs
  • 1,700 – Eaton County jobs
  • 2,500 – Livingston County jobs


Michigan gains a net economic benefit when foreign-owned companies locate operations in our state.  They often purchase capital equipment, buy or lease facilities and hire local employees.  In 2010, the number of Canadian-owned businesses operating in Michigan grew to 710, directly employing 25,818 Michiganders.


The Canadian National (CN) Railroad, which runs from the West Coast, through Chicago, through Greater Lansing, and to Port Huron and Sarnia, employs 1,200 Michiganders, and is an absolutely critical piece of infrastructure facilitating global commerce for thousands of businesses along its path.

The proposed new international trade crossing is another example of Canada’s commitment to enhance trade with Michigan and the United States. The Canadian government has committed up to $550 million toward the project that will complement the existing Ambassador Bridge crossing and increase the flow of commerce between our two countries.

The Canadian government’s contribution will allow this important trade crossing to be built without Michigan taxpayer dollars, while creating nearly 10,000 jobs during the construction phase, and spin-off job creation calculated to be nearly 25,000 jobs. Gov. Snyder has taken this project to the next level by gaining approval from Washington, D.C. that will allow Michigan to significantly leverage Canada’s committed investment to secure approximately $2.2 billion U.S. federal dollars for improvements to Michigan roads and bridges, making this international project practically a no-brainer. Hopefully the politics will get sorted out soon and construction on this global economic driver will happen in the near future.

With such robust ties to Canada, the State of Michigan and the Greater Lansing area are working to continue to build upon the mutually beneficial relationship. Obviously, the new international trade crossing is a top priority. However, during his visit, the Canadian consul general pointed out the unique location of Port Lansing and its significance; Port Lansing is directly connected to Michigan’s two busiest border crossings with Canada, Port Huron/Sarnia with I-69 and Detroit/Windsor with I-96.

The leadership at Capital Region Airport Authority/Port Lansing and other regional stakeholders are working with Canadian and U.S. trade officials to optimize Port Lansing’s fortunate geography to add value to companies that move freight through the region, strengthen the region’s role in global logistics, and increase the amount of global commerce occurring in Greater Lansing.  Other areas around the country and the world have demonstrated that improving upon a region’s available international assets benefits business and creates jobs.

The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Michigan State University’s International Business Center, the U.S. Commercial Service, among other regional partners, are all available and eager to assist your company to make the most of the Canadian market. Canadians use many of the same goods and services as we Americans, and fortunately most speak English. These facts make Canada an obvious first place to start exploring export markets.

To learn more about Canada, Port Lansing, and international resources available in the region, visit or call 517-886-3716.

Brent Case is vice president of international business services at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Case works with the Capital Region Airport Authority to increase the amount of global commerce being conducted in the Greater Lansing area.