Mr. Chairman and honourable members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee today to review Canada-U.S. trade and investment issues and the security and prosperity partnership.
By way of background, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers of Canada is the national trade association that represents the Canadian interests of 13 international automobile manufacturers that distribute, market, and manufacture vehicles in Canada.
In 2006, AIAMC members sold over 733,000 new vehicles in Canada, representing 45% of Canada's new vehicle market. Additionally, our members sold 61% of all passenger cars in Canada.
While our members' sales have grown, so has their Canadian investment. AIAMC members have invested over $6 billion in manufacturing facilities alone. Annual production in 2006 reached a record of 900,839 new vehicles out of the 2.58 million vehicles produced by the three member companies with production facilities in Canada, which are Honda, Toyota, and Suzuki, through a 50-50 joint venture with General Motors in Ingersoll.
While the majority, 77%, of the vehicles produced by our member companies are exported out of the country almost exclusively to the United States, each of these companies sell more of the vehicles they build in Canada to Canadians. For instance, 45% of Honda and Acura vehicles sold in Canada were produced at Honda of Canada Manufacturing, and 36% of Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in Canada were built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada. Furthermore, compared to other companies producing in Canada, these three companies have a higher percentage of their NAFTA production in Canada
While many would view the membership of the AIAMC as being importers in the context of the NAFTA, fully 50% of AIAMC members' sales in Canada in 2006 were produced in the NAFTA region. When Kia's recently announced $1.2 billion plant is open for full production in 2009, Porsche will be the only one our 13 members not producing vehicles in the NAFTA region.
If we look specifically at Canada, which is a necessary thing to do in light of some of the SPP initiatives, it's important to remember that Canada has no indigenous auto manufacturers. All auto manufacturers manufacturing in Canada are subsidiaries of multinational companies. Whether or not those companies have head offices in Detroit, Stuttgart, or Tokyo, they are all foreign-owned, but some have been operating here longer.
The SPP is comprised of about 107 key initiatives, 80 of which are oriented towards prosperity, as I'm sure you're aware, and 27 of which are oriented towards security. There are about 300 work items associated with those 107 key initiatives.
With respect to the automotive industry and the members of the AIAMC, the issues pertaining to border facilitation, the development of a regulatory cooperation framework, and national critical infrastructure protection and emergency preparedness are of significance.
The first two items I mentioned were to be pursued sectorally under the auspices of the Automotive Partnership Council of North America, which was originally intended to support the ongoing competitiveness of the automotive and auto parts sectors. Patterned after the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, this initiative was to be up and running in late 2005, but membership and governance issues have hampered its development. However, the issues the APCNA was envisioned to champion have advanced independently without the council's formation.
In the interests of time, I'll skip down a little further.
As noted earlier, the vast majority of Canadian vehicle production is exported to the U.S., and likewise, the vast majority of vehicles that Canadians buy are imported from the U.S., Asia, and Europe.
With respect to border facilitation, the trade in automotive goods accounts for 25% of all two-way trade between Canada and the United States. The ease with which parts and components move across the border is an important component of an integrated North American supply chain.
Unlike perhaps any other industry, 9/11 added cost, complexity, and thickness to the Canadian border as security measures were imposed on cross-border traffic. While many manufacturers have become FAST and C-TPAT approved to achieve low-risk status, the full benefits of those programs remain unrealized in many cases. While there are now about 20 border crossings with FAST capability, access to those FAST booths at major border crossings has not yet been fully resolved.
With respect to cross-border trade facilitation, it is widely acknowledged that pre-clearance away from the border, prior to arrival at the border, streamlines border crossings and minimizes the delay. However, it became apparent last week that land pre-clearance still requires some work between the Canadian and U.S. governments for it to move forward, but we remain optimistic.
Also of concern to border facilitation is the imposition of the western hemisphere travel initiative at land borders, for instance. It will come into place no later than July 2009 and will require citizens who leave and enter the U.S. to produce secure identification documents. While the American administration has suggested that it will show some flexibility, this requirement has the potential to cause significant backlogs at the border crossings.
With respect to the regulatory framework, differing standards and regulations can be significant inhibitors to trade. The AIAMC and its member companies are aware that the North American Competitiveness Council has focused much of its work on the development of a trilateral regulatory framework for cooperation, with a target date for realization prior to the end of this year. As an industry that is highly integrated on a North American basis, we can fully support the concept of making standards and regulations in all three countries more compatible, as well as eliminating the need for redundant testing and certification procedures.
Given its relatively small market size compared to the U.S.--Canada has about 8% of the total North American auto market--Canada has always worked closely with U.S. regulators in both safety and emissions regulatory development. There have been 14 voluntary agreements between the automotive industry and the Government of Canada that have assisted in creating regulatory alignment with the United States. These voluntary agreements have allowed Canadian consumers to benefit from the most advanced safety and emissions technologies in vehicles at the lowest possible cost. Whether the standards are motor vehicle safety standards or fuel economy and emission standards, given that the vehicles offered for sale are essentially the same in Canada as in the United States, there is no compelling reason why such standards should be different. Thus, we support the notion of the three countries' working together to develop regulations that are as compatible as possible.
This joint regulatory development process should also include the regulation of fuel quality. The automobile operates as a system, and the emissions control hardware on a vehicle will operate only as effectively as the quality of fuel that is combusted in the vehicle. In this regard, we were pleased to learn last week that Transport Canada and the Department of Transportation in the United States had signed a memorandum of cooperation concerning the research and development of a North American fuel economy standard. The objective, as we understand it, is to underpin the development of a stringent, dominant, North American fuel economy standard for regulation beginning in 2011. A fuel economy regulation for Canada that is aligned with that of the United States provides the least disruption in the marketplace and best balances consumers' purchasing requirements pertaining to vehicle utility, safety, fuel economy, and emissions.
The AIAMC and its member companies, with respect to critical infrastructure protection and emergency preparedness, view this as critical. We're referring not only to border crossings, but also to electricity generation, oil pipelines, dams, and telecommunications in each country. We need to have protection strategies in place as quickly as possible. Due to the integrated nature of the North American economy, a failure in the critical infrastructure components of any one country is likely to have a significant impact on trade and business in each of the other North American countries. Likewise, it is important for North American countries to establish individually and collectively an emergency preparedness plan so that in the event of an incident, emergency response officials know what needs to be done and how they can work together with a view to being very quickly able to address the human needs, and within time to be in a position to outline when commerce can be recommenced, based on the establishment of pre-incident protocols.
I do have some other comments with respect to the actual recommendations of the committee, but in the interest of time, I'd be happy to answer questions on those later on.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.