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Senator emphasizes relationship with Canada

Jan. 21, 2004

By Alexis Parish, reporter

'There is no relationship that is of greater social, political and economic consequence than with Canada,' Sen. Bill Brock, a former U.S. trade representative and co-chair of the U.S.-Canada Partnership for Growth Organization, recently told Baylor business students.

Brock urged students and faculty to support a 'stronger, healthier relationship with Canada' in a lecture Thursday at the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center.

The senator first lectured on the significance of international trade relationships during the 11 a.m. class, 'Economic Systems of the World,' of Dr. Stephen Gardner, professor of economics.

'I hope students will get a better appreciation of economic and political relations ... with other countries around the world and their effect on the U.S. economy,' Gardner said. Gardner is the director of the McBride Center for International Business, which sponsored the luncheon and program.

The senator focused on the problematic 27 percent softwood lumber tax the United States places on Canadian imports.

According to Brock, the tax threatens not only the United State's relationship with Canada, but also employment and U.S. lumber businesses.

The senator also disagreed with the tax itself and the way it was imposed.

'In my time in the office, the rule was if you were going to use import restraints, you give [the country] time to get their act together,' Brock said.

He also raised concern over U.S. citizen's lack of knowledge about international trade with Canada.

In a survey funded by the Partnership for Growth Organization, the majority of U.S. citizens believed Saudi Arabia to be the country from whom the United States gets most of its oil. In actuality, it is Canada.

'When we sneeze, they [Canada] get the flu, because we are so important to them,' Brock said. 'Since World War II, no country has done more business with us than Canada.'

Canada not only supplies the majority of U.S. oil and gas, but it also supplies nearly one-third of its lumber.

The U.S.-Canada trade partnership generates nearly $500 billion every year.

Brock also addressed the importance of education in the United States, saying that the way the country prepares children determines the future.

'This is a knowledge economy, not a manufacturing economy,' he said. 'We've got to think differently about how to respond.'

Along with being a former U.S. trade representative and senator, Brock is also the founder and chairman of Bridges Learning Systems, Inc., which helps students improve their ability to learn.

He currently tours with the U.S.-Canada Partnership for Growth Organization promoting the trade relationship.