Roundtable focuses on cross-border commerce

Jul 3, 2012

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hosted a roundtable discussion in Niagara Falls Tuesday morning to discuss ways for business leaders and elected officials to improve cross-border commerce.

Local stakeholders and area business leaders gathered in the City of Niagara Falls Tuesday  to attend a roundtable discussion on improving cross-border commerce hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. 

Gillibrand was joined by Rep. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Brian Higgins to discuss trade barriers and opportunities in tourism across the U.S./Canada border.  

"The amount of exports that we generate is significant. We want to double that number. We want to make sure when our visitors come, they're not just going to our shopping malls, but they're also going to our cultural sites," said Gillibrand.

New York's junior senator said the parties must figure out how to best capitalize on our Canadian neighbors.

"We're trying to take advantage of all the opportunities that we have in this region and we want to make sure that the millions of customers that are within a two-hour drive from where we are today have access to good transportation routes, to be able to...come into New York and be able to benefit from that amazing customer base," Gillibrand added.

Business leaders said federal lawmakers must work to improve traffic delays between the borders, push for more travelers to the Niagara Falls Airport, and assist to improving standardization for cross-border trade that affects vehicle laws and airport regulations.

Sam Hoyt, senior vice president for Regional Economic Development at the Empire State, also serves as chairman of the Buffalo Public Bridge Authority. He urged federal lawmakers to push for the Peace Bridge to be a pre-clearance are for truck traffic on the Canadian side to ease traffic congestion.  

Governor Andrwe Cuomo is calling on the Obama adminstration to select the Peace Bridge as one of the sites for a pilot program to pre-screen trucks on the Canadian side of the border heading into Buffalo.