Windsor Star Op-Ed: BTB & RCC Can Turn Agri-Food Industry into the Next “Just-in-Time” Crossborder Industry

Thursday’s Windsor Star highlights a new report from the University of Windsor Cross-BNorder Institute.

The report’s main takeaway, as reported earlier this month on BTBObserver:

The Beyond the Border and Regulatory Cooperation Council initiatives offer the real opportunity to develop, test, implement, and transform pilot projects into normal business practices and significantly reduce cross border costs and delays. Unfortunately, despite substantial public and private sector efforts to date, these initiatives have yet to fully complete the first set of projects, and with those successes completed, re-assure all participants that these efforts can produce sustained improvements in regulatory cooperation between the two national jurisdictions, and reduced border delays. (p. 27)

The Windsor Star article takes the report to push for continued progress on the Detroit-Windsor bridge:

That conclusion was echoed by Bill Anderson, director of the University of Windsor’s Cross-Border Institute, who agrees that border delays must be reduced to keep the $4 billion in agri-food products heading to markets in the U.S. through the Windsor-Detroit crossing.

“The whole agri-food industry is a very important industry in this part of Ontario and a lot of what’s produced is exported,” Anderson said. “The border is very important to the whole agri-food industry.”

The George Morris study also points out that the agri-food industry, like the auto industry, should build on a just-in-time, cross-border delivery system and use ongoing Canada-U.S. initiatives — Beyond the Border and the Regulatory Cooperation Council — as opportunities to address and resolve cross-border problems and improve the flow of products and services.

“Naturally, the key challenge in the agri-food industry is perishability,” Anderson said. “This new report indicates that, similar to other industries, food producers are increasingly using just-in-time production and processing practices to fulfil commitments to major retailers.”

As always, any discussion of cross-border trade must lead to infrastructure. And like manufacturing, agri-food growth will depend on the construction of the new Detroit-Windsor bridge.

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