Conference held to discuss trade relations with Canada

7:56 PM, Apr 24, 2012   |    comments
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ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Businesspeople were at the University of Maine early this week and discussing how the U.S. could improve ties with its largest trading partner: Canada.

The two countries sell hundreds of billions of dollars of goods and services to each other every year. So what they can they do to create even more trade?

Several speakers said one thing that is dampening the exchange of goods is border security. About 300,000 people and $1.5 billion dollars worth of goods crosses the U.S. Canadian border every day.

Supporters of an east-west highway in Maine also spoke at the conference. They say the proposed highway could boost trade and generate economic development in parts of rural Maine.

"The concept of an east-west highway has been discussed on many occasions," said Cianbro Corp. CEO Peter Vigue, whose company already has ideas for the proposed highway, "there have been multiple studies and it is clear reviewing these past studies that the need for an east west highway has existed."

Not everyone at the university on Tuesday was in favor of building that highway. Several protestors set up shop outside of the conference. They feel building an east-west highway would disrupt the rural character of where they live.

Last month, the Maine legislature did approve having a study done to look into the idea.  


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