PEF home page and weblog
1. He’s Number Two: Stephen Poloz was widely acknowledged in economic and political circles as the second-best choice for the top job at the Bank of Canada. So the surprise was not that he was chosen. The surprise was, Why Not Tiff Macklem? Will someone please find out and tell the rest of us? 2. [...]
Posted by Armine Yalnizyan under Bank of Canada, Conservative government, economic growth, free markets, free trade, G-20, inflation, interest rates, international trade, macroeconomics, monetary policy, Role of government, stimulus, unemployment.
May 3rd, 2013
This week’s edition of Embassy newspaper contained a very interesting briefing insert on the Canada-EU CETA talks. Below is a commentary from me critiquing the ubiquitous but unbelievable claim that free-trade with Europe would boost Canada’s GDP by $12 billion, create 80,000 jobs, and life incomes by $1000 per family.
Last month’s over-the-top “celebrations”of the 25th anniversary of Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan’s signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement seemed strained, to my mind. The self-congratulation and back-patting struck me as rather overdone, contrived even. Remember, this wasn’t the 25th anniversary of the FTA’s implementation (that won’t occur until Jan. 1 2014). It was only the [...]
It’s been an unusually hot summer, and soaring temperatures have boosted sales of that quintessential summer food, ice cream. But Baskin-Robbins has decided to shut its production facility in Peterborough, Ont., and lay off 80 workers because of…wait for it… increased demand! From the department of “wait, what?”, here’s the scoop behind this brain-freeze-inducing decision. [...]
The Harper government currently lists 18 different sets of free trade negotiations “in play.” (See my recent post on this.) Today the government announced (from the G-20 meetings in Mexico) the 19th: Canada has been invited to join the Trans Pacific Partnership talks. The TPP negotiations were initiated several years ago bya number of smaller [...]
DFAIT’s web site currently lists 18 different trade deals currently “in play” (and that doesn’t count the Trans-Pacific Partnership, where Ottawa is so far just flirting). But Harper’s push to sign as many FTAs as possible while he has a majority will not improve Canada’s actual trade, which is deteriorating (both quantitatively and qualitatively) the [...]
The Prime Minister’s trip to China last week sparked a flurry of media coverage regarding prospects for “closer” economic ties between Canada and China. Some even speculated that another free trade agreement is in the works (as soon as the Harper government inks its planned deals, of course, with the EU, India, Korea, and the [...]
Last week (Feb. 2nd) I drove up to London, Ontario, to shoot some film footage of the locked-out workers picketing outside the Electro-Motive Diesel plant for a documentary I am working on. The company, the only one to make locomotives in Canada, is owned by Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest equipment manufacturer. They’d locked out [...]
Canadian free trade negotiators are going all-out to get a deal with the EU on a new free trade agreement. The Harper government wants a deal badly for largely symbolic and ideological purposes, to show that the free trade agenda is back on track under this “stable majority government.” Many valid concerns have been raised [...]
CBC National News reconvened their “Bottom Line” economics panel (including yours truly) last night to discuss the twin debt crises (Europe and America) that are currently roiling financial markets. Here’s the link to the webcast for aficionados. In the last segment, Pater Mansbridge asked all the panelists how the debt problems should affect individual Canadians’ personal [...]
A month ago, Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments volunteered to be directly sued by investors under the Agreement on Internal Trade. This quiet announcement from Brudenell, Prince Edward Island, seems to have gone almost unnoticed. But it is a huge step toward imposing the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) on all Canadian [...]
The CAW has just released a 20-minute video featuring none other than yours truly giving a short lecture about the economics of the proposed Canada-EU free trade agreement (a.k.a. CETA). This link takes you to the film, which can be downloaded for free and shown at information meetings or any other organizing events.
Here is an interesting piece from the Financial Times on how Chinese companies are rapidly grabbing global market share from Germany of all countries across a swath of technologically sophisticated capital goods industries, from solar, to high speed rail, to the German fortress of mechanical engineering and machine tools. Had China heeded the mainstream view [...]
There’s a shockingly honest and accurate article about Canada’s deteriorating trade performance in today’s Globe and Mail by Barrie McKenna. It notes that Canada’s trade balance improved dramatically in November (almost completely closing October’s $1.5 billion). However, it cited some Bay Street economists lamenting that this was for the “wrong reasons”: namely, a sharp slowdown [...]
Trade Minister Peter van Loan goes after Maude Barlow with a letter in yesterday’s Globe and Mail, responding to her fine recent op-ed on the Canada-EU free trade talks. Among other cheap shots, van Loan once again cited as “proof” the findings of a computable general equilibrium model that was commissioned by the EU and [...]
Gabriella Moldonado looked like someone who was thoroughly whipped by life. This past October I was standing on the front stoop of her sagging home in Laredo, Texas, interviewing the middle-aged, portly woman for a television documentary about Mexico’s drug cartel wars. Laredo is a city of 230,000 that lies on the Rio Grande river [...]
Here’s an amusing epilogue to my recent CCPA report on the possible economic and employment impacts of a free trade agreement between Canada and the EU. (Here is the report; here is my blog on it.) The day after the report came out, reporters asked Trade Minister Peter Van Loan to comment on its predictions [...]
The Canadian and EU governments are working toward a free trade agreement that would comprehensively liberalize trade in goods and services, government procurement, foreign investment, and other important economic interactions between the two parties. Canada enters these negotiations with a notable disadvantage in terms of both quantitative trade flows, and the qualitative composition of trade. [...]
My Globe and Mail column today looks at the issue of trade imbalances in global trade. Countries like Germany have stimulated their own recoveires (for now) by deliberately targeting large trade surpluses; this strategy has also been followed for years by China, Japan, Korea, and others enamoured with export-led growth (which is a totally different [...]
Canada’s federal government made an important announcement this week. It was kept deliberately quiet: with a news release issued at 4:45 pm on a calm Tuesday in the middle of the late-summer news “dead zone.” But it should set alarm bells ringing for anyone concerned with the anti-democratic direction of global trade law.
I’ve found the politics of the Buy American controversy very odd. President Obama, to help sell his massive stimulus package to the American public, added measures to maximize domestic content in stimulus-funded projects. From his perspective, that was sensible both economically (reduces the import leakage from the stimulus) and politically. If anything, it should have [...]
The downturn in global trade is stunning — a sure sign that this is no garden-variety slowdown we are experiencing. And in Canada’s case, the cyclical downturn in trade lies on top of a deeper structural change: our increased reliance on resource exports, which produced (via Dutch Disease mechanisms) a corresponding shift of output and [...]
It is amazing to see the charged responses to the idea of a made-in-Canada policy for procurement related to infrastructure stimulus spending. Perhaps it is just that all economists are supposed to accept free trade as the One True Policy. But what I am seeing are largely moral arguments for free trade in the abstract [...]
Everyone’s favourite non-issue came up again at last week’s First Minister’s meeting. The outcome of two amendments to the Agreement on Internal Trade was another bit of “progress”, I suppose (see backgrounder below). As usual, the release offers no details on actual trade barriers that are presumed to exist in Canada. With the long-standing margarine [...]
Of all the high-flyers and assorted fraudsters now coming down to earth, this one is just too rich and comical to pass by. Owen Lippert, now scandalized as the wholesale plagiarizer from Australian Prime Minister John Howard in a speech he wrote for Stephen Harper, was the former Director of the Law and Markets Project [...]
Today at the Canadian Economics Association meetings, the PEF officially awarded the first John Kenneth Galbraith Prize in Economics to co-winners Mel Watkins and Kari Polanyi Levitt. We had a packed room for the event, which featured opening remarks by Jamie Galbraith, and a historical retrospective of their works by Jim Stanford. Below is the [...]
January 2 will be the 20th anniversary of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement’s signing. (Of course, the deal did not come into force until January 1, 1989, after the 1988 federal election.) The leading lobby for this deal was the Business Council on National Issues, which has since been renamed the Canadian Council of Chief [...]
Earlier today, the Prime Minister announced that four by-elections will be held on March 17. Earlier this week, a most fascinating controversy emerged in one of the affected ridings: Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River (northern Saskatchewan). David Orchard, the Saskatchewan-based activist whose grassroots organization helped Dion win the Liberal leadership, has declared his candidacy for the Liberal nomination. [...]
The October issue of Policy Options from IRPP is devoted to free trade at 20 – now that we are 20 years on from the signing of the FTA with the US. http://www.irpp.org/po/index.htm With one modest exception, the articles are all written by pro free traders – including key architects of the deal like Derek [...]
Here’s a Freudian slip worthy of the internet age. Go to the home page for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade: http://www.dfait.gc.ca/index.aspx To find their section dealing with free trade negotiations, you go to the menu on the left, under a category titled “Services for Business.” We certainly couldn’t list free trade negotiations [...]