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Trade Concentration and Homeland Security on the Canada-United States Border

Matthew S. Mingus


Peace, trade, and culture are the three pillars of Canadian foreign policy, yet the Canada-U.S. Smart Border Declaration and 30-point Action Plan for Creating a Secure and Smart Border demonstrate that trade is clearly first among equals. The events of September 11, 2001, have increased the political and administrative spotlight on border security with the prevailing rhetoric that an "efficient flow" of routine trade and traffic will allow border officials to focus on "higher risk" individuals and freight. However, the maintenance of a dangerous concentration of trade through a limited number of border crossings is an unintended consequence of this approach. This concentration poses its own threat to binational economic security and will likely be worsened because the 30-point Action Plan has five points that facilitate increased concentration at the border and entirely lacks a focus on deconcentrating the flow of goods. The article concludes with a few speculative policy ideas for long-term deconcentration.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229