Ontario establishes Council on U.S. Trade and Industry Competitiveness

Unifor National President Jerry Dias named as new council chair

Ontario establishes Council on U.S. Trade and Industry Competitiveness

The Ontario government has established the Premier’s Council on U.S. Trade and Industry Competitiveness to safeguard workers and the province’s rights under trade agreements with the United States.

The new council, headed by Unifor National President Jerry Dias, will provide advice and recommendations on the government’s ongoing efforts to rally business leaders, elected officials and labour leaders to protect Ontario’s rights under trade agreements with the U.S. and the workers who depend on a secure, prosperous and integrated North American economy, said the province’s announcement.

“We are at a critical juncture in our relationship with the United States, with coordinated action between government and labour urgently needed to protect jobs and the economy,” said Dias. “I look forward to leading this new council to find solutions on behalf of our members and of all workers across Ontario.”

“I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Jerry Dias as we work together to protect an integrated economy that employs millions of workers on both sides of the border,” Premier Doug Ford said.

At present, the U.S. Congress is debating protectionist measures that would harm industries across Ontario, including auto, lumber, steel, agriculture and more, according to the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, in the announcement.

“At a time when we’re on the cusp of unleashing the full potential of Ontario’s auto sector as we build an economy that will compete globally, now is not the time to rip up decades of cooperation and put workers on both sides of the border at risk,” Ford added.

“This new council, with the full support of our government, will continue to advocate for Ontario against unfair Buy American policies by highlighting the cost of protectionism to businesses on both sides of the border and promoting a Buy North American approach to our auto sector,” Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli said.  

The estimate value of the two-way trade between Ontario and the U.S. in 2020 was $358 billion, which accounted for 53 per cent of the total merchandise trade between Canada and the U.S.

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