Buffalo Niagara Partnership President & CEO Dottie Gallagher penned an editorial for the Hamilton Spectator that reiterated our organization’s ardent opposition to any policy that threatens our relationship with Canada. The piece solicited positive feedback from both sides of the border and garnered the attention of many readers who want to maintain and grow our relationship with Canada.
It goes without saying that the steel and aluminum tariffs recently imposed by the Trump administration are a direct affront to our trading relationship with Canada. These ill-advised, protectionist policies run the risk of inflicting real economic harm on employers across the country, but New York State will be hit particularly hard.
Canada is our largest customer. We exported more than $19 billion worth of goods and services to Canada last year. Nearly 681,000 jobs in New York depend on trade and investment with Canada.
The impact of these tariffs and strained trading relationship with Canada hits home for many Buffalo Niagara companies, especially local manufacturers who has integrated supply chains running through Canada. A recent survey of Partnership members showed that 80 per cent of respondents identified themselves as having customers and/or supply chain relationships in Canada. These numbers are staggering, and they help paint a clearer picture of just how much is at stake.
The Partnership’s job is to advocate against policies that harm our members. That’s why, in addition to repeatedly expressing our opposition to the tariffs and voicing strong support for a speedy and successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we recently joined the Coalition to Keep Trade Free along with several other regional chambers along the Canada and New York border. The group mobilizes organizations at the local, state and federal level to advocate for free trade in North America.
According to the Coalition to Keep Trade Free:
- Canada is the top export destination for 35 states.
- Nearly nine million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada, which leaves the U.S. at risk of losing two million of those jobs by 2026 with continued tariffs and a failure to reach a new NAFTA agreement.
- Without a renewed NAFTA, the average American household will lose significant spending power, meaning that families stand to lose 20% of what they have to spend after paying their bills.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also aggressively pushing back on the administration’s new tariffs. As a member of the U.S. Chamber, the Partnership has joined with regional and state chambers across the country in highlighting the potential of these tariffs to derail the American economy and hurt consumers and businesses alike, as well as the need to strengthen our economy through productive NAFTA renegotiations .
These tariffs are a direct blow not only to our regional economy, but to our historically friendly and strong relationship with Canada. The Partnership will continue to work with our allies at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as our friends to the north in the Coalition to Keep Trade Free, as we continue to fight back against these harmful policies.