Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, members of the committee. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak before you here today.
My name is Aylin Lusi, and I am the vice-president of public affairs for UPS Canada.
UPS is a global transportation and logistics company. We are also the world's largest customs brokerage service provider. We have a 110-year history of moving and delivering goods, and we have operated here in Canada for over 42 years. We very proudly employ 12,000 people across the country, and we move approximately 3% of global GDP each and every day.
As an organization, our ambition is to bring Canadian goods and services to global markets, and to bring international goods and services to Canadian citizens.
We see the ongoing NAFTA renegotiation process as an opportunity. It's an opportunity to further improve the flow of goods throughout the North American market. Today I would like to outline three recommendations that we believe will help to create efficiencies in the movement of goods between NAFTA partners: the improvement of customs processes, the alignment of border security processes, and continued investment in infrastructure at NAFTA borders.
I'll begin with Customs. While customs processes might not always attract the most attention in discussions on international trade, we are very firm believers that efficient customs are really the cornerstone of successful North American trade, particularly in an age with complex composite supply chains and, of course, the ever-increasing volume of cross-border e-commerce.
The WTO's trade facilitation agreement provides us with what we would consider to be a ready-made blueprint for improving the efficiency and transparency of customs regulations. We believe that this agreement could serve as a good foundation for NAFTA renegotiations.
More specifically, we would encourage the modernization of NAFTA certificates to allow those who are trading goods under NAFTA to use multi-year electronic certificates, as opposed to the current annual hard-copy format.
A second opportunity can be found in customs powers of attorney. We believe that electronic signatures, as opposed to the current wet-ink ones, could be permitted in order to clear goods through North American customs.
A third opportunity can be found in the single window initiatives of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. These three distinct programs seek to achieve the same outcome of trade facilitation. UPS believes that NAFTA partners now have an opportunity to renew working together to align their respective single window initiatives, so that companies wishing to import from and into any NAFTA country are able to deal with more similar systems. Forums such as the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council might provide a helpful environment for this alignment.
Since Canada and the U.S. share the largest international border in the world, secure and safe trade will be a significant component of any discussion regarding NAFTA modernization. The three NAFTA countries' trusted trader programs all require companies to invest in their internal security and data-reporting compliance in exchange for expedited treatment at the border. We would encourage NAFTA partners to recognize one another's trusted trader programs, and move towards what we would call an “inspected once, cleared twice” model, where a shipment is examined by the entry country and is accepted as cleared by its NAFTA neighbour.
Finally, we believe that Canada and its North American partners must invest in world-class trade infrastructure in order to remain competitive. Upgrading infrastructure at points of entry and exit is vital to improving the cost and the time efficiency of cross-border trade. In addition, the removal of procedural barriers for certified carriers to use the existing free and secure trade program or express lanes at borders could help improve the flow of goods to market.
In order to ensure that these border processes have the desired effect of making North American trade more competitive, we would encourage a “one parcel, one policy” approach, meaning that the same parcel should be subject to the same customs duty and tax collection policies, regardless of the carrier of that parcel.
In conclusion, Mr. Chair, UPS shares the Government of Canada's commitment to help Canadian businesses realize their innovation, growth, and prosperity goals. We believe that the introduction of measures to facilitate cross-border trade will help to propel Canadian exports and enhance the capacity of NAFTA as a platform for growth. This will support a competitiveness strategy and, most importantly, it will support Canadian businesses, their employees, and their customers across the country.
Thank you very much.