Trade Corridors

What are trade corridors?

Trade corridors are streams of products, services, and information moving within and through communities in geographic patterns according to a matrix or “culture of trade agreements and treaties, statutes, delegated legislation, and customs that govern and guide trading relationships, institutions and structures.

Continental 1 Trade Corridor

Continental 1 is ―a 1500-mile, four lane, limited access highway stretching from Toronto, Ontario to Miami, Florida, that will have the potential to impact a marketplace and the quality of life in the geographic region from the Eastern Seaboard to the Mississippi. The focus of the corridor is to help businesses, residents and tourists save time and money, as well as create a safer, more efficient north-south corridor. The corridor is funded through a combination of public and private funding sources; the current objective is to finish the section of the corridor that runs from Springville, New York to the Maryland state line5. Studies are currently underway to assess the environmental impact of each section of proposed construction in western New York.

In the 1990‘s, the U.S. Federal Government made trade corridors a top priority with such legislation as NAFTA in 1994, and ISTEA in 1991. ISTEA, or the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, provided funding for border crossing and trade corridor improvement6. This act also designated Continental 1 as a ―High Priority Corridor‖, thus making it eligible for federal funding. The overall goal of both ISTEA and NAFTA has been to optimize the enormous flow of trade between the United States and Canada; in 2006 alone, $626 billion of total goods were traded between these countries.

For more information on Continental 1 trade corridor, please refer to the 2009 North American Trade Corridors study.

National Corridors

As with global trade corridors, the link between transport corridors and economic activities here in North America is clear. U.S.-Canadian-Mexican trade corridors play an integral role in facilitating trade, economic development, and cooperation between these three countries.

In addition to socio-economic growth, border security and safety are paramount issues for both the United States, as well as its trading partners. U.S. border crossing policies are being drafted in coordination with respective authorities in Canada and Mexico. Maintaining and building environmentally sustainable trade corridors is a global trend that has been pioneered by the Organization of American States‘ Office for Sustainable Development and Environment. In both the United States and Europe, considerable emphasis has been placed on ―green‖ initiatives; this applies to infrastructure projects as well.

While trade between North America‘s three countries has been part of the continent‘s economic fiber for over two centuries, the greatest growth has occurred during the last three decades. Canadian road freight deregulation occurred in 1987. This, combined with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 and the Canada-USA Trade Agreement (CUSTA) in 1991, has had significant impact on Canadian transport corridors. The changes have both increased the overall trans-border freight traffic and emphasized north-south regional corridors at the expense of long-haul, east-west intra-national routes.

For more information on trade corridor in New York State and throughout North America, please refer to the 2009 North American Trade Corridors study.

Global Corridors: Connecting Continental 1 to the region, the nation, and the world

A comprehensive study of global trade corridors was conducted during Phase 1 to help the team better understand the overall impact that trade corridors have on different regions of the world, to look for consistent trends, and to place Continental 1 in a global context.

This study included detailed reviews of historic trade corridors, including the Silk Road that ran from China to Africa; varying definitions of trade corridors as defined by the multiple studies devoted to this subject; the impact of trade corridors on the socio- economic development of Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, including continental philosophies and infrastructure plans.

While it‘s easy to think of trade corridors as something that came of age with the proliferation of motor vehicles (i.e. our interstate system), the phenomenon of trade corridors is not unique to North America during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In fact, the earliest trade route, the Silk Road, still serves as the role model for economic growth and prosperity.

In Asia, the development of trade corridor infrastructure is necessary to meet the continent‘s demands of increased trade and economic growth. In Europe, the European Union is seeking to enter new markets, namely former Soviet Bloc countries, thus offering the EU a renewed economic influence in this region. The global debate on Africa‘s distraught economic picture—one of constant underdevelopment and poverty—is still present. One of the innovative ways to address this issue has been to invest in the development of trade corridors. Existing trade corridors in Eastern, Southern, and Western Africa have served as models for increased trade, improved job conditions, and overall improved social and economic outlooks for the continent.

The lessons learned from this study clearly frame the Continental 1 trade corridor in the context of a global trade corridor in that Continental 1 will span two countries (U.S. and Canada) and will provide a more direct route to a major shipping port (Miami). Like many of the global trade corridors listed in Figure 2, Continental 1‘s funding structure is modeled after the principles of a public/private partnership. Additionally, the key reasons cited for expansion of the Continental 1 corridor follow the central themes that guide infrastructure projects around the globe. The expansion of Continental 1 serves to:

·   Improve the socio-economic development of the regions along the route, specifically the Rust Belt areas of western New York and western Pennsylvania. These areas have endured an increasing loss of trade and tourism throughout the last century

·   Integrate trade between Canada, the U.S., and, by-way of the ports located in Miami, South America, Latin America, and the Caribbean

·   Increase safety and security by expanding to a four-lane, limited access highway, thus eliminating the need for commercial carriers and other long distance travelers to pass through residential areas

To learn more about these global trade corridors and how they impact their regions, see the complete Continental 1 Global Trade Corridors Study.  You may also be interested in our extensive bibliography.

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