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Say NO to NEW REGULATIONS: Canadian, U.S. manufacturers to brief ambassadors on their “Common Cause”

On August 30, Luiza Savage posted an event notice on her Bilateralist website for an inaugural Canada-U.S. Manufacturing Summit, taking place in Montreal September 12 and 13. The event, called “North America’s Manufacturing Future – Our Common Cause,” is co-hosted by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and the U.S. National Association of Manufacturers. The Prime Minister’s invited to speak, so are ambassadors Gary Doer and David Jacobson. But it’s not a public event, nor did the CME post it to their events page (though apparently you could register before August 20 for $350 at this link).

An agenda for the event is posted on the website of the United States Council for International Business, which since 1946 has been helping leading American companies “join together with like-minded firms to influence laws, rules and policies that may undermine U.S. competitiveness, wherever they may be.” Their job is to “give business a seat at the table” and they’re apparently quite good at it. “Members are frequently invited to join U.S. government or business observer delegations to major international summits, conferences and meetings,” according to their website.

On the first day of the “Our Common Cause” conference, attendees will hear the latest on Canada-U.S. regulatory harmonization efforts from the Canadian lead of the newly created Regulatory Cooperation Council (Bob Hamilton), followed by a discussion on the topic of regulations with the Ford Motor Company, the Food and Consumer Products of Canada (representing multinational processed food, drug, insurance and other firms related to brand name grub), and a regulatory affairs adviser to the U.S. president.

On the second day, participants and attendees will have an hour with the Canadian and U.S. ambassadors to share their views on where the binational regulatory cooperation process should go. What might they say? Maybe Say NO to NEW REGULATIONS — the campaign slogan of the U.S. manufacturers co-hosting this event in Montreal? It would compliment Harper’s “red tape reduction commission,” his cutting of food safety inspectors and Environment Canada employees, and the shift to industry self-regulation at the heart of Paul Martin’s “smart regulation” ethic, which the Conservatives incorporated and elaborated.

I’m not saying industry talking to government about how it should be regulated is wrong. It’s just hard to appreciate how many seats around the table business lobbyist have, and where this exclusivity has gotten us over the past decade of regulatory cooperation talks with the United States. Does Canada want to align biotech, chemicals, or pharmaceutical rules with U.S. regulators that have been essentially captured by industry? (Don’t answer that, it’s too depressing.) Does the U.S. want to lower its environmental monitoring activities on energy projects to Alberta’s depressing level? Do we want to continue to prioritize profits and trade over public health and ecological protection?

These guys in Montreal next week do. Now Harper’s limited perimeter and regulatory cooperation consultation is over, they’re also the ones with the government’s ear. And judging from this conference the business sector is much more organized than it was during the Security and Prosperity Partnership years. For more on what they want out of this new bilateral discussion, see Brent Patterson’s campaign blog today. We’ll be watching how many of these business requests end up in the Canada-U.S. regulatory cooperation action plan released in the next few weeks.

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Canada-U.S. Manufacturing Summit
September 12 – 13, 2011
InterContinental Hotel
Montreal, Quebec

North America’s Manufacturing Future – Our Common Cause

Unless otherwise noted all speakers are confirmed

Day 1 – Monday September 12th, 2011

11:00am – 11:45am – Registration

11:45am – 12:00pm – Summit Opening Remarks and Objectives
• Jay Timmons, President, National Association of Manufacturers
• Jayson Myers, President & CEO, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

12:00pm – 1:30pm – Canada/U.S. Global Economic Competitiveness and Integration
• The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada (Invited)

1:30pm – 2:00pm – Manufacturing and Business Opportunities in the U.S.
• Barry Johnson, Executive Director, SelectUSA, U.S. Department of Commerce

2:00pm – 3:00pm – North American Energy Policy
This panel will focus on North American energy policy including energy security, smart grid, business
opportunities for manufacturers and necessary supportive government policies on energy and the environment.

• Elise Allen, President & CEO, General Electric Canada
• Lorraine Hariton, Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, U.S. State Department

3:00pm – 3:15pm – Networking Break

3:15pm – 5:00pm – Canada/U.S. Regulatory Harmonization
This panel will provide an update from the leaders of the Canada/U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council as well as insights, priorities and lessons learned from company and sector efforts on regulatory harmonization.
• Bob Hamilton, Canadian Lead from Regulatory Cooperation Council
• Cass Sunstein, Special Advisor to the President, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (Invited)
• Nancy Croitoru, President and CEO, Food and Consumer Products Canada
• Michael Sheridan, Director Global Trade Strategy & Policy, Ford Motor Company

6:00pm – Reception and Dinner
North American Trade Policy – What are the impacts and implications on integrated manufacturing as trade agreements beyond NAFTA

• Honourable Ed Fast, Minister for International Trade Canada
• Gary Hufbauer, Peterson Institute for International Economics
• Michael Hart, Simon Reisman Chair in Trade Policy, Professor of International Affairs, Carleton University

Day 2 – Tuesday September 13th, 2011

8:00am – 9:15am – Breakfast Discussion
• Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry Canada (Invited)
• Grant Aldonas, Principal Managing Director, Split Rock International

9:15am – 10:30am – Cross-Border Trade and Logistics
This panel will provide an update from the leaders of the Canada/U.S. Beyond the Border Working Group as well as priorities from company and sector efforts improving trade security and compliance and reducing costs for cross-border supply chain logistics.
• Daniel Restrepo, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director For Western Hemisphere Affairs (Invited)
• Simon Kennedy, Senior Associate Deputy Minister, Industry Canada
• Kelly Johnson, Vice President, Government Affairs, Campbell Soup

10:30am – 10:45am – Networking Break

10:45am – 11:30am – Workplace Skills Development
The Manufacturing Institute recently launched Manufacturing Skills Certification System across the U.S. to directly address the deficits in manufacturing education and training, which are limiting the pool of qualified candidates for high-quality manufacturing jobs. This session will provide an overview of the Skills Certification System as a model for other industry sectors across North America.
Emily Stover DeRocco, President, The Manufacturing Institute

11:30am – 1:00pm – Lunch
North American Technology and Innovation Agenda

1:00pm – 2:00pm – What is our common cause?
An open discussion on what the common cause agenda is for manufacturing in North America and specifically what priorities and issues we must address.
• Jay Timmons, NAM
• Jayson Myers, CME

2:00pm – 3:00pm
Our recommendations to governments – a discussion with Ambassadors
• Gary Doer, Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. (Invited)
• David Jacobson, U.S. Ambassador to Canada

3:00pm – Concluding Remarks and Next Steps
• Jay Timmons, NAM
• Jayson Myers, CME