TORONTO — A new alliance promoting cross-border trade plans to hold a seminar next spring.
Canadian-U.S. Plastics Alliance scheduled the seminar for April 8 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, near Buffalo, N.Y., according to Jay Milenham, commercial officer with the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo.
CUPSA originated from talks begun at Plastex '98 held in Toronto in May, Milenham said in a telephone interview. It comprises industry associations, educators and government officials from Canada, New York state, and Pennsylvania.
The alliance's first seminar will promote partnership among industry, government and educational institutions to boost the already-hefty plastics trade in the Great Lakes region. Speakers will outline technology exchange, and provide regional compendiums of educational programs, plastics manufacturers and relevant associations.
Ontario has the third-largest regional plastics industry in North America, and New York and Pennsylvania are in the top 10, according to Faris Shammas, executive director for the Ontario region for the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, a member of CUPSA.
``Alliances are part of the changing structure of competition,'' Milenham said.
Industry clusters, for example, help with just-in-time manufacturing and shipping.
One issue CUPSA has addressed is changes to U.S. immigration law that threaten to delay traffic at Canada-U.S. border crossings. Congress recently delayed implementation of the changes until 2001 because U.S. immigration does not have the resources to implement them without causing huge backups at border crossings, which would wreak havoc with JIT shipments.
Milenham said current government involvement in CUPSA reflects the Buffalo consulate's jurisdiction, and other U.S. states might join the alliance. Regional clusters in other Canada-U.S. border areas also are possible in the long term.
The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington is the main U.S. trade association in CUPSA.
CUPSA will promote two- and four-year plastics programs in regional schools, said Randy Agnes, program director at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. The alliance could develop plastic processor executive programs as well as courses for operators.