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Posts Tagged ‘NAFTA’

On a visit to Rome this month, at the airport:

  • They immediately stamped my Canadian passport, and I could stay for up to 90 days without a tourist visa
  • No questioning
  • They didn’t mention anything about liquids
  • No full body scan
  • Customs declaration appears to work on the honour system

Returning to Canada through the U.S., at JFK airport:

  • Required to take off my shoes
  • Required to separately x-ray my laptop
  • Required to put 100 mL or less of liquids in a plastic re-sealable bag
  • Questioned for a minute about customs and what my intentions were
  • Passport stamped for connecting flight only

This, despite Canada and the U.S. sharing the longest undefended land border in the world, and being parties to NAFTA, the largest trade union in the world as of 2010, and most Canadians being exempt from US-VISIT fingerprinting and photographing procedures, unlike U.S. green card holders.

Indeed, the U.S. was attacked on 9/11 and Italy and Canada weren’t. However, the disparity in security checks for Canadians at the airport in Italy’s largest city versus the United States is vast.

This, despite Italy having been a member of the Iraq War coalition, all three countries with troops in Afghanistan, and Italy’s longest-serving and current Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, having been the most pro-Bush foreign leader aside from UK prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

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With Western Union, I priced a ‘Money in Minutes’ online and agent money transfer of $1000 USD from America’s financial capital, New York City, to Iraq, and from New York City to Canada.

The service fee was only $19.99 from New York City to Iraq, but was $86.00 to Canada — 430% more.

Similarly, MoneyGram’s agent 10-minute money transfer fee for $1000 USD was only $16 from the U.S. to Iraq, but was $61 to Canada — 381% more.

This, despite Canada’s deep economic integration with the U.S. through NAFTA and the SPP, the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship among individual countries, their membership in the G-8 and G-20, being ranked #7 and #8 in economic freedom according to the Heritage Foundation, Canada having the soundest banking system in the world according to the World Economic Forum, and bigger economies of scale.

Previously, I wrote about how it’s cheaper to send a text message to Iraq than to the United States.

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According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Database, October 2009, NAFTA (United States., Canada, Mexico) regained the distinction of being the largest trading bloc in the world for 2009 by nominal and PPP GDP, and is projected to stay that way until at least 2014.

NAFTA: $16.451 trillion USD by nominal GDP and $17.279 trillion USD by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)
EU: $16.190 trillion USD by nominal GDP and $14.851 trillion USD by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)

This, despite the EU having a larger estimated population in July 2009 of 491,582,852 with the NAFTA-member countries at a population of 451,911,120.

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