Auto Service World
News   May 5, 2004   by Auto Service World

Canada-U.S. Relations Can Stand the Strain, says U.S. Ambassador


Canada U.S. Relations run too deep to be destroyed by single areas of conflict, says U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Celucci.
"There will be strains at times, but I don’t think anything will fundamentally hurt this relationship," Celucci told automotive aftermarket professionals at the Automotive Industries Association of Canada’s Aftermarket Conference for Executives this morning. The conference is being held today and tomorrow in Mont-Tremblant, Que.
Celucci, who made headlines following the September 2001 terrorist attacks when he questioned Canada’s friendship with the U.S., said that the relationship and cooperation between Canada and the U.S. has been nothing short of astounding.
"There is a deep reservoir of goodwill toward Canada in the U.S. and I believe and deep reservoir of goodwill towards the U.S. in Canada.
"That doesn’t mean we always agree. There was a strain when Canada decided to not support the war in Iraq. Some to the statements were made that were quite harmful at the time. But our ties are too deep and too fundamental," for those events to cause a permanent rift, he said. "It is in each of our national interests to work together."
In his presentation, Celucci emphasized that a key are of cooperation is in cross-border issues. The need to ensure that trade can flow seamlessly across the border is critical.
Millions of jobs are at stake.
"This is how families support themselves. This is why this relationship is so critical. It is also important to note that 80% of this two-way trade crossed the border by truck. This is a critical piece in keeping that border open to trade and tourism, but closed town to terrorism, and smugglers, and drug dealers."
"We [knew immediately following the September 11 attacks that we] could not allows this border to become an impediment."
Accordingly, a set of programs and technologies have been put in place to ensure that the flow of goods and people has continued, while the undesirable elements have been largely kept out.
Turning to automotive matters, Celucci said that he was aware that many used vehicles had entered the U.S. from Canada.
He characterized this as a positive situation.
"Some 850,000 used cars have been exported in the last 6 years. This has boosted aftermarket sales and service jobs in the U.S.," he said. "Ninety five percent of safety regulations are standardized," he said, "But air bags are not mandatory in Canada, daytime running lights are not mandatory in the U.S., so there is still a ways to go."
Looking further downstream, he took exception to the assertion that the U.S. is not concerned about the environment, or making the transition to alternative fuels, namely hydrogen power.
"The U.S. spends $4.5 billion year on global climate change, more than any other country in the world. More than all of Europe and Japan combined.
President Bush, he said, is committed to having a hydrogen-powered vehicle that is easy to refuel by 2020.
"The next time you read about the U.S. not being concerned with the environment remember that we are putting the money into the science to make this right."


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