Jack Spearman
Canwest News Service
March 25, 2008

A report from a prestigious U.S. think-tank released Sunday argues that Canada and the U.S. should work together with the aim of creating a common market for commerce and labour by 2030 for the states and provinces in the Great Lakes basin.

It also takes aim at obstacles to trade in the region, such as traffic congestion at the Ambassador Bridge linking Windsor and Detroit.

The Brookings Institution, in a paper entitled the Vital Connection, Reclaiming Great Lakes Economic Leadership in the Bi-National U.S. Canadian Region, notes that even though the manufacturing base of the region has eroded in recent years, it is still a heavyweight.

“If it stood alone as a country,” says the report, “it would be the second biggest economic unit on Earth, second only to the U.S. economy as a whole and larger than Japan, the rising powers of China and India, and the traditional heavyweights of Germany and the U.K.”

Still, the losses have been steep, reads the report: “more than one-third of U.S. manufacturing job losses between 2000 and 2005 occurred in seven Great Lakes states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.”

The report wants both countries to get cracking.

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