Brian Lee Crowley

The High Cost of Internal Trade Barriers

On 30 Sept. 2017 I published an op-ed in the main New Brunswick dailies detailing the damage that internal barriers to trade cause to Canadians. The occasion of the column was Statistics Canada’s first attempt to measure the economic cost of such barriers. And they are huge. As I wrote:

“StatsCan intelligently didn’t go looking to compile a list of barriers. That’s a mug’s game. Barriers are often subtle and buried in complex regulations. Nor is any list ever likely to be complete, because the premiers are always inventing new ones, like recent claims to have the power to stop pipelines crossing their territory. The justified fear that a successful business will cause neighbouring provincial authorities to obstruct them with new barriers may be just as trade-dampening as the list of ones already in place.

“Instead StatsCan looked for evidence that there is less trade across provincial boundaries than one would expect given the kind of economy and infrastructure and other factors we enjoy. And they found plenty of such evidence. In fact they found that the barriers to trade within Canada were equivalent to roughly a seven percent tariff.”

Read the full argument here.


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Brian Lee Crowley
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