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April 19, 2023 -- AmCham Canada was honoured to host U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne
Clark in Ottawa during her first official visit to Canada. Ms. Clark’s remarks delivered to the business
community addressing the theme “Building a Stronger U.S. – Canada Partnership” are provided below.
“Thank you all for joining us this morning. You know, my preparation for this trip really
began back in February when I—along with 113 million other Americans watching the
Super Bowl—learned just how much we have to thank Canada for. Now, I know how many U.S. jobs are
supported by our trade relationship—it’s about 8 million. And how much our two-way trade is
worth—nearly a trillion dollars annually. I know Canadian companies have invested $600 billion in the
U.S.. But I did not know that Canadians invented peanut butter... the battery... the instant replay... the
electric wheelchair—just to name a few of the Canadian contributions Crown Royal highlighted in their
brilliant Super Bowl ad. So, on behalf of literally everyone, thank you, Canada!
And, on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, thank you to our terrific partners who made today
possible. I want to start by recognizing our hosts—and the U.S. Chamber’s long-time friends—AmCham
Canada. We’ve been proud to work shoulder-to-shoulder with AmCham Canada for more than 20
years—to represent the interests of American business on both sides of the border. Your advocacy for a
vibrant business climate is indispensable to the strength and future of the U.S.-Canada relationship.
I also want to thank Ambassador [Kirsten]Hillman and Ambassador [David] Cohen for their partnership
and friendship to the U.S. business community. We were delighted to host them at a meeting of top
American business leaders in Montreal last year, and we are grateful they are here with us today.
During our time in Ottawa, the Chamber team is meeting with U.S. and Canadian business leaders,
Prime Minister Trudeau, the ministers of Trade and Innovation, and members of parliament. And this
morning I want to share with all of you some of the messages and priorities we’ll be carrying into those
meetings, on behalf of the American business community.
First and foremost is that U.S.-Canada relations are strong, and could be stronger still—and that’s
important not only to each of our countries, but also to the world. That was clearly signaled by both
countries’ leaders during President Biden’s recent visit to Canada.
The global challenges and opportunities of this century require North American leadership and
competitiveness—and it will be rooted in the deep and abiding ties between our nations.
This is a relationship we have fostered and we have fought for at consequential moments—
from the negotiation of the original NAFTA in the early 90s to its recent modernization
resulting in CUSMA. As a result of the work across our governments and private sectors, we overcame
the threat of losing our continental free trade agreement and we were able to secure important
modernizations that set a global gold standard in areas such as digital trade, financial services, and
With the deep commitment and support of the U.S. Chamber and our partners in Canada, our nations
have built the most important and economically integrated bilateral relationship in the world. And we
stand on a strong foundation of shared values—freedom and democracy, free enterprise and open
markets, and the rule of law.
We aren’t just partners or even friends, we are family. And as family, we can come together with
goodwill and candor and say what is working and what is not. Where we are strong and where we can
improve. And what it will take for us to fulfill North America’s potential to be the most competitive
region leading the global economy, implement and comply with CUSMA to boost our competitiveness
and seize global opportunities, we have to implement and comply with the letter and spirit of CUSMA.
That means working through the issues we politely call “irritants”—some that we’ll raise with Canada’s
leaders while we are here and others where we are pushing our own administration to act in the best
interests of the North American relationship. On the U.S. side, the Chamber is pressing the Biden
administration to quickly implement the CUSMA panel ruling on Automotive Rules of Origin. This is
especially important as the auto industry transitions to EVs. We can compete with anyone else in the
world—but we have to get the rules right first. Maintaining our competitive edge also means
avoiding the expansion of Buy American rules to new products and sectors. They delay products by
tying them up in red tape, lead to soaring costs—and they invite retaliation as other countries respond
with their own “buy local” mandates. Here in North America we make things together, and we should
all remember this whenever new “Buy American” proposals pop up.
On the Canadian side, we are pressing the government to honor the enhanced market access that was
granted to the U.S. and Mexico for dairy products. And to halt implementation of a digital services tax,
which violates WTO and CUSMA rules, as well as the G20/OECD pledge.
We are also calling on our friends in Canada to refrain from any legislative or regulatory action in the
digital trade space that discriminates against U.S. companies. What we tell our own government all the
time is that we need smart, balanced, nuanced regulations. That’s the only way our nations, together,
can keep North America on the cutting edge of emerging technologies like AI. Do we want it to be us? Or
China and Russia? The U.S. and Canadian business communities must demand an environment that
fosters, not discourages innovation.
And as CUSMA partners, the U.S. and Canada must take active steps to press Mexico to comply with its
obligations on energy and agriculture—and to address its rapidly deteriorating investment climate.
Regardless of the degree of harmony in a partnership as complex as ours, there will inevitably be
problems to solve and differences to overcome.
And it’s important that we do so for two reasons. First, the disputes themselves must be resolved
so we can fulfill the potential of this relationship. And second, to prove that we can do it—that
we are committed to making this agreement as strong as we can. So if an administration changes or
when we go back to renew CUSMA the economic case is clear and the agreement is indisputably
maximizing North America’s global competitiveness.
That’s why the U.S. Chamber advocates on both sides of the border for resolution. Because our primary
goal is to help forge the most effective North American economy possible—an economy ready and
capable of tackling our shared challenges.
Now I want to briefly highlight some of those opportunities for collaboration—like enhancing supply
chain resilience. We were encouraged to see a plan announced coming out of January’s North
American Leaders’ Summit, which would utilize CUSMA to align North American policy around emergency
response, critical infrastructure, and essential services.
There were also valuable lessons learned during the pandemic, and one thing is abundantly clear. The
private sector can and should play a central role in informing government policy on supply chains and
other key issues.
Increasing digital trade represents opportunities for companies large and small in both countries—and it
should be a leading priority. 90% of the U.S. Chamber’s membership is made up of small businesses,
and digital tools are the equalizer that allow them to compete and grow.
Importantly, maximizing our economic competitiveness here at home will also position the U.S. and
Canada to engage, lead, and compete across the globe.
North American energy cooperation has been key to stabilizing energy markets as they
endured the first global energy crisis in history. As our reliable partner in the G7, Canada
supports policies to enable further investment in natural gas and nuclear technology. And American and
Canadian energy production delivers economic advantages at home and to our allies. This diminishes
the strength of aggressors like Russia—and because our energy is far cleaner than most, its use results in
substantial emissions reductions.
Another opportunity for leadership is the energy transition, specifically when it comes to EVs and
transportation. This will require a 500% increase in the global production of key metals and minerals by
2030. But plans to boost production are tied up in unnecessary bureaucracy, and billions of dollars in
capital investment for the energy transition remain sidelined.
Meanwhile, China is responsible for approximately 80% of the production and processing of critical
minerals. The U.S. and Canada can and must overcome these critical dependencies. In the U.S., we
have ambitious energy transition goals, but our outdated, inefficient permitting process prevents us
from getting mines approved.
In fact, it often takes longer to secure a permit than it does to actually build the project. Pressure is
building to fix this—the Chamber is leading a campaign we call “Permit America to Build” to reform the
system. Canada of course has vast mineral resources, but no single country has all the minerals the
world needs for the energy transition. We should work together, alongside partners in
other regions, to develop these mineral resources.
We can diversify the global supply in a responsible manner. And then there’s food security. Putin’s war
of aggression in Ukraine has led to slashed grain shipments to many countries, especially in the Middle
East and Africa. North America is proud to be one of the world’s great breadbaskets, and with enhanced
collaboration and constructive policies, we can work together to address the inflation and scarcity that
has inflicted hunger on millions.
Friends, the enduring partnership between Canada and the U.S. is so important not just because of the
sheer size and scope of it, but because of the shared values it’s built upon— values the world
desperately needs right now. We stand for principles that lift people up— that drive prosperity and
We proudly defend and advance a system of free enterprise that empowers business to serve
people, solve problems, and strengthen society. And we believe deeply in the freedom, democracy,
and rule of law that allow people to act in their own best interests.
Nothing has shown that quite as clearly over the past year as our strong support for the people of
Ukraine as they fight for their lives and their future. And I want to recognize a great partner in that
effort who is here with us today—Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada, Yuliya Kovaliv.
It’s so important that the U.S., Canada, and the entire free world stand with Ukraine until the war is
won and in the years of reconstruction and recovery that lie ahead. While there are certainly ways that
we can and will—strengthen the ties between our nations, we should never forget that the U.S.- Canada
partnership still sets the standard.
We are still a model of diplomacy and economic stability for the rest of the world. And we do it best
when we do it together.
It’s the people in this room—the business leaders and the business advocates—who help hold our
leaders to those highest of standards. Our nations and their people deserve nothing
less—and the world is depending on it!”