Mr. Speaker, I have very serious concerns on the U.S. administration's proposed fee for the use of the U.S. customs' automated system. Canada moves by truck. Close to 80% of merchandise trade with the United States is by road. Members in the Chamber appreciate that this fee, being considered to help fund a much needed upgrade of automated commercial operations, would increase the cost of Canadian exports to the United States.
We acknowledge the need for and efficiency of upgraded automated commercial operations. Indeed, it has become an essential and vital component of international trade. Goods and the information associated with them must travel quickly to respond to the needs of just in time inventory management systems and the pressures of global competition.
I suggest the proposed new levy would be a customs user fee of the type that is prohibited by Article 310 of NAFTA and therefore inconsistent with U.S. obligations under NAFTA.
I commend the Minister of International Trade and the Canadian ambassador in Washington for registering our strong opposition and urge them to vigorously continue this challenge. Canadian traders deserve nothing less.