Inaugural Summit of Canada & U.S. Leaders Advanced Bilateral Relationship, Focusing on Cross-Border Movement of Goods and People, Advanced Manufacturing

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2016 U.S.-Canada S.A.G.E. Summit at The Ohio State University served as a precursor to upcoming North American Leaders Summit and U.S. elections

To advance the world’s largest trading relationship, an actionable set of deliverables was agreed to by business, policy, and political leaders from Canada and the U.S. at the inaugural U.S.-Canada Summit – Strategies, Advocacy, Gateways, Engagement (S.A.G.E.) at The Ohio State University.

In his keynote address, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman stated, “Quite simply, there’s almost no aspect of our lives that is not touched by the bilateral relationship. Our governments engage at every level – from international security, to health, to law enforcement, to trade and investment. On the business front, thousands of small, medium, and large companies engage in hundreds of billions of dollars of annual trade in goods and services, creating the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world. We in the U.S. government, along with our Canadian counterparts, work tirelessly every day to enhance these ties.”

This gathering of Canada-U.S. stakeholders comes at a pivotal time in North American relations, with U.S. elections on the horizon and the North American Leaders Summit taking place June 29, 2016 in Ottawa. U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto will gather to discuss the future of the North American relationship touching on many of the key areas where Summit delegates called for action.

The delegates representing the leading 60 Canada-U.S. organizations issued the “Columbus Declaration” that called on the respective governments to immediately address:

  •     Providing clarity and necessary training regarding business visitor rules between the two countries;
  •     Advancing the PreClearance “border” bills pending in the U. S. Congress and Parliament of Canada to strengthen border security and facilitate to trade; and
  •     Recommitting to the regulatory cooperation processes established between the two countries to eliminate redundant regulations and achieve alignment where possible.

A majority of delegates who participated in the polling weighed in on the following binational concepts: the current principles of friendship, interdependence, partnership and rule of law that have governed the Canada-U.S. relationship still apply in the twenty-first century globalized world. Also, delegates found that the broad issue-areas ripest for action are facilitation of goods across the border, labour mobility and continued regulatory coordination – the latter particularly in the innovation space.    

“There is no better example of how trade can create mutually beneficial relationships than the one shared by United States and Canada,” stated Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy & Environment Catherine Novelli, who spoke to the crowd on the U.S. and the future of global trade. “Our partnership supports millions of jobs in both countries, as well as $1.8 billion per day in two-way trade in goods and services. This type of success is why we are so committed to promoting the benefits of open trade and open markets around the world. Our newest and most modern trade agreement is the TPP, and it will allow both countries to continue to prosper from trade in the 21st century.”

"This Summit marks the beginning of a new trek for the Canada-U.S. and global trading community,” said Dan Ujczo, Summit co-founder and Cross-Border Development Director for Dickinson Wright PLLC. “In this time of significant political and economic change, the groups with real-world experience and expertise have come together to chart the course for 2017 and beyond. We will move forward on an active agenda to better move goods, people, and capital throughout North America. For those lagging behind, you better catch-up."

The more than 200 delegates addressed the current status of the cross-border relationship in terms of advanced manufacturing, aerospace, agri-food, consumer products, and energy, as well as initiatives to expand trade and investment across the world’s longest safe and secure border. The Summit placed new emphasis on the future of the bilateral relationship in areas such as additive manufacturing, innovation and R&D, labor mobility, and regional wellness.

“Campbell Soup Company is the perfect example of truly integrated North American manufacturing company,” said Kelly Johnston, Vice President of Government Affairs for Campbell Soup Company. “We applaud the U.S.-Canada Summit for heralding the success of our economic relationship and its contributions to job creation on both sides of the border. Best of all, the summit identified several opportunities to spark economic growth through more regulatory reform and alignment and turn North America into the world’s most successful export platform. We hope this is the beginning of a brighter and more confident economic future for both countries.”

“Cross-border collaboration represents a win-win on a large scale -- for the businesses involved in trade as well as consumers on both side of the border. The U.S.-Canada Summit brought together important stakeholder groups and helped us to align our priorities and to move forward collectively. This alignment will help to strengthen the largest, most-integrated trading relationship in the world,” said Dave Olsen, Principal Officer and Regional President, PNC Bank Canada Branch (PNC Canada), the Canadian branch of PNC Bank, N.A.

U.S.-Canada Summit – Strategies, Advocacy, Gateways, Engagement (S.A.G.E.) was founded by The Ohio State John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Dickinson Wright PLLC, the Cross-Border Institute, and the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins. For more information, please visit

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