U.S.-Flag Share of the U.S./Canada Trade on the Great Lakes

RCED-86-115: Published: May 8, 1986. Publicly Released: May 8, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the U.S.-Canada waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system, specifically, the reasons why Canadian ships carry most of the trade.

GAO noted that U.S. vessel participation in trade on the seaway has declined and, in 1984, accounted for only 6 percent of U.S.-Canada trade. GAO found that the decline in U.S. shipping participation was due to: (1) higher American vessel operating and construction costs; (2) modernization of the Canadian Great Lakes fleet; (3) differences in Canadian and U.S. government assistance programs; (4) geography; (5) long-term contracts; (6) domestic trade policies; and (7) American fleet operators' concentration on domestic traffic.

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