CFIB calls for new internal trade deal
Wants first ministers meeting in Toronto to make it a priority.
TORONTO — The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is urging federal and provincial trade ministers to push hard for a new internal trade deal that removes barriers within Canada.
As trade ministers begin meetings in Toronto this week to update to Canada’s primary national agreement (Agreement on Internal Trade or AIT) on the movement of goods, services and labour across the country, small businesses are seeking a new deal that makes internal free trade a priority.
According to a CFIB report, 87% of small business owners said the premiers need to reduce trade barriers between provinces.
Only 9% think the existing AIT helps them trade between provinces and 28% were not aware it existed.
Thirty-one per cent of businesses moving goods or workers in or out of their own provinces reported frustration with the often conflicting provincial rules and regulations they face.
For example, a vehicle registration permit in Ontario is not acceptable in Manitoba, while a “wide load” sign posted on a truck travelling on an Alberta highway must be switched at the Saskatchewan border.
CFIB’s report recommends these guiding principles:
• Mutual recognition. Where a product or service complies with rules in one province, it will be acceptable to all provinces.
• Negative listing. An assumption that cross-border trade is permitted unless stated otherwise.
• Dispute resolution. A faster and more direct approach to solving disputes.
Click here to access the complete report.