The Ambassador Bridge may be open again at Windsor, Ont., but blockades continue at multiple border crossings, and that could have long-lasting and damaging effects on Canada’s important trade relationship with its closest neighbour, says a University of Guelph researcher.

Dr. Sylvanus Kwaku Afesorgbor is a professor in U of G’s Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics who researches international trade, political economy and globalization.

In a Conversation Canada commentary he recently co-authored with Prof. Sunghun Lim of Texas Tech University, Afesorgbor noted that the U.S. and Canada have one of the most enduring and lucrative trade partnerships in the world, worth billions of dollars.

Dr. Sylvanus Kwaku Afesorgbor

While the blockades are causing plenty of short-term headaches, Afesorgbor warned there could be long-term damage to that trading relationship.

The blockades have only “stirred uncertainty” in trade relations that had already been strained during former U.S. president Donald Trump’s leadership.

“Because of trade tensions between the U.S. and Canada in recent years, the blockade was particularly concerning because it prolonged those tensions,” Afesorgbor wrote.

What’s more, he said, the blockades could damage Canada’s reputation as a trading partner.

“Bilateral trade is highly sensitive to these types of disruptions as businesses factor such risk and uncertainty into cross-border trading decisions,” he added.

“If the risk they are exposed to is substantial, businesses are hesitant to engage in international trade.”

The auto industry has already been affected, because sector players in Canada and the U.S. are highly dependent on one another. The multibillion-dollar agri-food trade has been affected even more.

“If not addressed speedily, blockades will cause food prices to soar even higher given the rise in general inflation is already expected to significantly impact food prices,” he said.

Afesorgbor is available for interviews.


Dr. Sylvanus Kwaku Afesorgbor