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NAFTA vs Homeland Security – America Looses

May 8, 2008

Cheap Indian cars coming, warns Canadian minister
Toronto: Nano, Tatas’ small car with a price tag of just $2,500, is already being viewed as a threat to the North America auto market even before its launch in India.
Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prestice gave this warning Wednesday when he said that unless steps were taken to cuts costs and delays in cross-border movement of auto parts, North American-produced vehicles will be outpriced by Indian and Chinese vehicles in their own market very soon.

“Not long from now, we will see the first Chinese – or Indian – manufactured vehicles arrive on North American shores, ready to be sold to eager consumers. These vehicles will have encountered a border delay only once,” Prentice told the Council of the Americas in Washington.

In the post 9/11 world, he said, despite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) businesses in Canada, Mexico and the US were suffering because of “the burden of new measures to enhance security, as well as more rigorous enforcement of existing rules.

“This means that businesses in all three countries are facing longer delays, higher inspection rates, additional fees, and more layers of security when they can afford it least.”

He said the costs and delays of an automobile part as it travels across national borders on its way to final assembly added several hundred dollars to the price of a North American-built vehicle.

Describing these problems as a `two-headed monster’, the minister said, “We want security and prosperity. Instead, we make it more difficult to have either. Not only do we hamper the legitimate trade and travel that provide the foundation for North America’s prosperity, but we are also clearly misallocating resources.

“The dollars, hours and resources spent investigating legitimate travel and trade are dollars, hours and resources that would be better spent targeting the areas of highest risk.”

The unveiling of Nano a few months ago made headlines in Canada, with dealers and buyers expressing interest in the world’s cheapest car.

It was a grand idea, when first presented as the hands across the economic border. Prosperity for all. Everyone lives happily ever after. But, 9/11 changed the entire mindset of the country in the middle. The security knee still jerks uncontrollably. The drugs lord terrorists are not the ones responsible for 9/11. But the Bush administration gets its way by stoking the fires of fear. Millions of dollars have been spent in all the wrong places, any questions are unacceptable and often suspect. When one’s life is restricted because BushCo has ghosts slipping across all the borders with nuclear devices, paranoia is required. Making border crossings as traumatic as possible, has impaired the “happily ever after” scenario America, Canada and Mexico were sold. Along with rising costs of everything, imports are what allow Americans affordable goods. The economy is connected to all the hair brained schemes America’s administrations have sold us.
Why not let India, China and Brazil bring their affordable vehicles into this country. America’s auto makers have shown disdain for the economically suppressed. They could not afford the gas anyway. America’s automakers have offered token vehicles that are small and get medium gas mileage. But the big money buys big vehicles, gas prices be damned. That population is both shrinking and embarrassed to be seen in those same luxury gas wasters.
Arrogance is no longer fashionable. Realism is long over due. This is a Global issue. Yes, haves and have nots will always be around. BUT, people should not have to starve and suffer because of ignorance and carelessness.
The very poor and disenfranchised are breeding grounds for disease and anarchy. These conditions cannot be dismissed any more. The world is shrinking. We breathe each other’s air and drink each other’s water. We must share our food and make education available. We are only as strong as the least among us …

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