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Border Chokepoints Draining US Economic Potential

Washington D.C. - Each year the American economy loses $4.13 billion in economic potential because of clogged border crossings into Canada, with the greatest losses suffered by the Great Lakes States.

"Borders are the chokepoints of our economy," said Len Crispino, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. "Lost jobs and lost economic potential are having a dramatic impact on the United States."

In the Cost of Border Delays to the United States Economy study, released today, the OCC found that the economic loss to the US is conservatively measured at $471,461 per hour - each and every hour of the day. There is also a corresponding loss of potential employment - particularly in the manufacturing and transportation industries.

"Since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement, cross-border traffic has grown by 152 per cent," said Crispino. "This has created a significant traffic problem that has been exacerbated by just-in-time logistics and a lack of infrastructure capacity."

The study found that Michigan and Ohio bear the brunt of the economic loss, closely followed by New York and Pennsylvania. This loss is generated from routine delays, ranging from 10 minutes up to four hours.

"There are over 5.2 million jobs in the United States that are dependant on trade with Canada. Each year, five times as many US products are sold to Canada as to Japan," said Crispino. "Immediate action by both nations is needed to solve this problem because the cost of inaction is simply too high."

The OCC has met and will continue to meet with Representatives from several Great Lakes States and from key legislative committees with interests in trade, security and infrastructure - presenting them with facts about the costs of border delays to the US economy.

The full study, backgrounder, and a previous study focused on Canada and Ontario's economy, can be found at www.occ.on.ca.

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