Press-Republican

Business

April 24, 2013

Fee for border crossings mulled

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

Owens said he would “explore all legislative options available to me to prevent this move in the months ahead.”

TRADE PARTNERS

According to information from the chamber, the United States and Canada share a $1.2 trillion economic relationship, including trade, tourism and other activities.

Canada remains the largest source of foreign direct investment in the United States, the chamber information says.

Tourists from Canada made more than 21 million trips to the United States in 2011, spending more than $24 billion in the process.

Canada accounts for an economic impact of more than $1.6 billion in Clinton County each year, according to the chamber information.

DAMAGE

Plattsburgh State men’s soccer coach Chris Waterbury travels to Canada frequently to recruit players and attend Montreal Impact Major League Soccer games, for which he has season tickets.

“Canadians traveling to Clinton County help our economy tremendously, and adding a fee to cross the border would deter that and damage our economy,” he said.

“We should be doing the opposite and encouraging more people to cross the border.”

JOINT PLAN

Douglas said a fee could severely hinder the strong economic relationship the United States has with its northern neighbor.

“Let’s take America’s No. 1 economic asset — that being its relationship with Canada and the function of the U.S.-Canadian border — and turn it into a dysfunctional catastrophe,” he said sarcastically.

“Thankfully, I am confident that (with) the engagement of the congressional delegation of the northern border states — led by Congressman Owens in the House and (New York) Sens. (Charles) Schumer and (Kirsten) Gillibrand and (Vermont’s Patrick) Leahy rallying more than 20 members of the U.S. Senate — this will never happen.”

Douglas said that even discussing such an idea is bad news.

“Unfortunately, in the near term, (Homeland Security) Secretary (Janet) Napolitano and others are doing fresh harm to our relationship with our Canadian friends by once again bringing up this nonsensical notion and feeding uncertainty about future border fluidity just when we are working through the Beyond the Border process to convey the opposite.”

Beyond the Border is a joint plan, released in late 2012, for the United States and Canada to improve security at the border while expediting lawful travel and trade.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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