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UW Fulbright Visiting Chair in Innovation Addresses Local Business Leaders

December 31, 2012

Above: Yan Cimon, Canada’s Fulbright Visiting Chair in Innovation (l’Université Laval) with Wes Kovarik, Law & International Studies, and graduate affiliate of Canadian Studies.

by Yan Cimon, Ph.D., 2013 Fulbright Visiting Chair in Innovation

Cimon noted that while North American countries exports to one another were slowing down in recent years, the Canada-U.S. trade relationship remains very beneficial to the United States with the bulk of U.S. exports going to Canada. It is vital, therefore, that the United States do what it can to keep the Canada-U.S. relationship vibrant. Yet, the border has become more of an irritant than a facilitator of trade. In fact, the border may cost anywhere between three to 13% of our bilateral trade depending on the sectors examined and the methodology employed.Yan Cimon, UW Fulbright Chair originally from Université Laval, provided a presentation on North American economic integration at the Consulate General of Canada in Seattle on 6 December 2012. The talk entitled, “America Bouncing Back: How Canada May be Key to a U.S. Economic Recovery” challenged conventional thinking that the U.S. would be better off if it implemented “buy American” provisions. Cimon argued that such a policy has likely cost the U.S. economy well over 175,000 jobs and has had a considerable, and negative, impact on the U.S. economy in general.

Cimon argued that competition between Canada and the United States also makes little sense when most products are built on both sides of the border and cross the border several times before they are complete. Firms are now part of global networks. Cimon urged that “our common discourse should move beyond “trade” and “value chains” to recognize that we operate in “sophisticated networks.”

Twenty members of the business community and the University of Washington enjoyed Cimon’s challenging insights into the North American economy.

Yan Cimon holds the Fulbright Visiting Chair in Innovation at the UW College of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is Associate Professor of Strategy at Université Laval’s Faculty of Business Administration (Québec City, Canada) and is the Deputy Director of CIRRELT (Québec) – the Interuniversity Research Center on Logistics, Transportation and Enterprise Networks.