The top U.S. trad­ing part­ner

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Af­ter sev­eral care­ful re­views of Ezra Klein’s Jan. 25 Econ­omy & Busi­ness col­umn, “ The prob­lem with com­pet­i­tive­ness, and Canada,” I am still un­cer­tain as to what Canada has to do with China and U.S. busi­ness com­pet­i­tive­ness.

The United States is not in com­pe­ti­tion with Canada, asMr. Klein seemed to sug­gest, but en­joys a highly pros­per­ous, sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with Canada. Each is the other’s largest trad­ing part­ner — $1.3 bil­lion worth of com­merce per day. That’s about $1 mil­lion a minute. Canada buys four times more goods from the United States than does China, and Mr. Klein might also be sur­prised to learn that more trade is con­ducted across just one bridge con­nect­ing Detroit to Windsor, On­tario, than the United States con­ducts with Ja­pan in a year.

Also, most Amer­i­cans are shocked to learn that Canada— and not the Mid­dle East— is our coun­try’s top for­eign sup­plier of oil, nat­u­ral gas and ura­nium. I re­spect­fully sub­mit that Canada is a per­fect ex­am­ple of why our coun­try should ac­tively and ag­gres­sively pur­sue free-trade agree­ments and re­ject the poli­cies of pro­tec­tion­ism that his­tory clearly shows have proved eco­nom­i­cally dev­as­tat­ing to the United States.

David H. Wilkins, Greenville, S.C. The writer was U.S. am­bas­sador to Canada from 2005 to 2009.

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