In the past, Katie McCarron could count on her best Canadian customers to come to her Portland, Oregon store to stock up on their favorite high-quality, human-grade pet food.
COVID-19 had other plans. Soon, however, Portland Pet Food Co.
“Some of them were just shopping in Portland, and we would hear that they had come here, or they would write to us and ask us, ‘How can I order your food online with the border closed? British Columbia-born McCarron said in a recent interview.
Is it time for a new approach to the Canada-US border? Experts explain
In the United States, however, every international pet food shipment requires a special health certificate, preventing a small retailer like Portland Pet Food from offering online sales outside of the country.
“We can’t ship to Canada – it’s just too expensive, and we have to get these certificates issued every time we ship. So I had to continue to get into distribution. “
Today, thanks in large part to a deal with Canadian chain Pet Valu, Portland Pet Food is available at over 500 specialty retailers across Canada, an expansion that equates to roughly 25% of the global retail footprint. of the company.
McCarron clearly already had expansion in mind before the pandemic hit. Portland products are already available in Japan and it recently signed a distribution agreement in China. Korea and Taiwan are next on its list.
But the current ban on non-essential ground travel from Canada to the United States, tentatively extended for a 19th month through October 21, has made it clear the importance of gaining storage space in a part of the world to cross into. the border is not as simple as it used to be.
President Joe Biden’s administration made a stark contrast last week when it announced a major overhaul of the rules governing international travel and COVID-19, while extending the travel ban at the Canada-U.S. Border.
McCarron is unable to explain why the United States continues to deny Canadians the ability to drive across the border for vacations, day trips, or shopping trips – a restriction that the Canadian federal government has begun to enforce. relax over the summer for fully immunized U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
“I am just as baffled” as others about the border, she said.
United States extends land border rules to Canada and Mexico, relaxes other travel measures
The US Travel Association says the ongoing closure of the Mexican and Canadian land borders costs US businesses about $ 1.5 billion per month in “travel exports,” which the association defines as spending by foreign residents when traveling. their visit to the United States.
Canada, meanwhile, remains the largest export market for the United States, accounting for nearly 18% of all American products shipped out of the country last year. The two countries trade $ 1.7 billion in goods and services every day, for a total of $ 614.9 billion in 2020.
“My constituents are deeply frustrated with this, especially given the commerce and relationships people have across the border,” Michigan Senator Gary Peters said last week in security hearings. national with Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas.
“We are very aware of the economic consequences, and not just the economic consequences but the consequences for family members who have not seen each other for some time,” replied Mayorkas.
US extends land border rules to Canada and Mexico, relaxes other travel measures
He said the progression of the Delta variant of COVID-19 “is not yet where we need it” in the United States, and that there are communities near the US-Mexico border that are also suffering from the closure.
“We are looking at the situation, not only at the entry points at our northern border, but also at our southern border,” Mayorkas said.
“We have heard similar concerns about southern border communities and the impact, economic and family, of the restrictions. We’re looking at what we can do operationally, and we’re moving forward in a very sequential and controlled fashion. “
It is shocking to consider the gap in crossing the Canada-U.S. Border by land, said Tori Barnes, executive vice president of public relations and policy for the US Travel Association.
Communities say possible reopening of Canada-US border “overdue”, but experts are cautious
“It’s very difficult that we are in a situation here where Canada is completely reopened, and from an American perspective you can only get in if you fly,” said Barnes.
“It’s obviously also very negative for the US economy, and it’s something that we have continued to articulate.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not explain on Thursday why the land border remains closed as the Biden administration announces new vaccination requirements for international visitors arriving by air.
“Land restrictions, I don’t have an update for you on the situation, beyond that has been extended (and) we continue to consider additional measures,” she said.
© 2021 The Canadian Press