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22 May 2024

New vocabulary in what has become an obligatory interprovincial trade section of the budget is finally aiming at the right goal: “National regulatory alignment.” Intercolonial tariffs and border agents monitoring the passage of goods between Upper and Lower Canada are long gone, of course. [...] These exceptions do impose drag on the economy, but the real mischief is in regulatory misalignments not mentioned anywhere in the agreement. [...] For instance, it’s estimated that reconciliation of building codes across the country would yield savings on the order of $1 billion within the first five years, and then annually thereafter. [...] A forthcoming survey of interprovincial trade also announced in the budget should raise the profile of entrenched barriers. [...] This survey may even lead to more cases being launched under the CFTA’s dispute mechanism, which would be good for the agreement and therefore for liberalization.



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