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Archive for 'international trade'

Free Traders Panic Over German Challenge to Investor-State Dispute-Settlement

In my many years documenting and critiquing the overblown claims of free trade proponents about the supposedly self-regulating efficiency-promoting mutually-benefiting effects of globalization, I’ve encountered some real doozies. 

Jason Kenney, TFWs, and Canada’s Services Trade

When he announced the sudden moratorium on new Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) in the restaurant industry, Employment and Social Development Minister Jason Kenney tried to reconcile this dramatic about-face with his government’s long-standing support for the whole idea of migrant guest-workers.  So while strongly criticizing a few particular restaurants for their high-profile “abuses” of the program […]

Polozogistics: Nine Thoughts About the Choice of the New Bank of Canada Governor

  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. […]

The Canada-US FTA at 25

My take, in the Globe Economy Lab today.

Dutch Disease, the Canada – US Exchange Rate and Trade With Asia

Today’s Globe editorial provides further evidence of distorted economic reasoning being rolled out to attack Thomas Mulcair. “Mr. Mulcair seems to long for a golden age of manufacturing and a low dollar, but his longing won’t take Canada anywhere. Not only the dollar but Asian competition has inflicted damage on Canadian exporters.” The implication seems […]

Defending Green Jobs at the WTO

As a partner in Blue Green Canada, the United Steelworkers have issued the following news release: WTO Called Upon to Dismiss Japan, EU Challenge to Canadian Renewable Energy Policy Canadian NGOs and labour unions have sent an amicus curiae submission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the eve of a second hearing tomorrow into […]

The Current Account Deficit

The National Bank have published a very useful and interesting report on the current account deficit, which is now running at about 3% of GDP. They argue that the deficit – largely driven by a huge fall in our manufacturing and wider goods trade balance – has now become structural, and should be cause for […]

Trans-Pacific Partnership

The United Steelworkers’ union made the following submission to the Government of Canada earlier this week: The United Steelworkers union welcomes the opportunity to comment on Canada’s proposed entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade negotiations. Our union represents 200,000 Canadian workers, employed in every sector of the economy. While our traditional membership base […]

Empire and Trade

Empires vary: of conquest, of settlement, of trade; contiguous and maritime. Empires abound: a long list, longer even than many books on empire admit to. Wikipedia lists over 200 empires from the Akkadian Empire of Sargon the Great in the 24th century BCE to today’s American Empire. In terms of territory the largest are the […]

The Fundamentals Are Pretty Shaky

Thanks to Arthur Donner’s Economic Comment for bringing this to my attention. The official line we hear everyday is that the Canadian fundamentals are great, while other countries are in deep trouble because they are spending beyond their means and borrowing too much from the rest of the world. Yet IMF projections show that Canada’s […]

Municipalities, Procurement and Canada-EU Trade

There is an excellent post by Scott Sinclair at the CCPA blog.

Avoiding a really bad drug trip – Pharmacare versus CETA

Boomers are getting blamed for an awful lot of fiscal problems these days. But blaming an aging population for healthcare costs spiraling out of control is misplaced. Missing opportunities to manage and contain costs is the real culprit. Take, for example, our spending on prescription drugs. Costs in that part of the healthcare system have […]

A Call for Capital Controls

Today, the Global Development and Environment Institute and the Institute for Policy Studies released the following statement signed by more than 250 economists, including a couple of Progressive Economics Forum members: Dear Secretary Clinton, Secretary Geithner, and Ambassador Kirk: We, the undersigned economists, write to alert you to important new developments in the economics literature […]

Creating Comparative Advantage

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 […]

Taxing Multinational Corporations

Earlier this month, I attended a very interesting conference on the taxation of multinational corporations. It included a case study of how SABMiller avoids paying tax in Africa. While many of the points presented are undoubtedly familiar to this blog’s readers, the conference put it all together with a clarity that I attempt to reproduce […]

Industry Canada Pans Free Trade?

Shortly before I left Canada, Canadian Business magazine contacted me for a story on productivity. It highlighted a presentation by Industry Canada economist Annette Ryan. I was struck by slide 40 (41 of 44 in the PDF): In an endogenous sunk cost model, opening free trade and intensifying competition leads to a divergence in innovation […]

The Bicycle Metaphor

A propos of the launch of the Canada – India trade talks, Bill Robson resorted to the tired old bicycle metaphor on CBCs Power and Politics. He is not alone. This cliche gets voiced all the time. Like a cyclist who will topple if she or he slows down, the momentum of trade liberalization must be […]

The Currency Wars and Global Trade Imbalances

In the run up to the Seoul Summit, the issue du jour has become “the currency wars.” I certainly side with those who think that the under-valuation of the Chinese currency and its fix to the US dollar at that low level constitutes a huge subsidy to Chinese exports  which has played a major role […]

Beggar-thy-Neighbour Trade Strategies Still Rule

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 […]

In Praise of Export Cartels

Concerns about the prospect of BHP Billiton leaving Canpotex have prompted a backlash of hand-wringing about Canpotex’s very existence. For example, The Globe and Mail featured an editorial earlier this month that began by suggesting, “Canadian policy-makers should reconsider the status of Canpotex.” But it concluded, “In practice, unwinding Canpotex would be no simple matter. […]

Don’t Know Much About Canpotex

A key issue arising from the proposed potash takeover is BHP Billiton’s musing about leaving Canpotex, the agency that has long marketed Canadian potash offshore. (Growing up near the railroad tracks in Regina, Canpotex train cars were a familiar sight.) Perhaps BHP believes that it alone has sufficient clout to manage supply and negotiate overseas […]

Gwyn Morgan Misleads on Global Trade

Gwyn Morgan may have made a lot of money for EnCana shareholders, but I have rarely found his economic commentary in the Report on Business to be very well-informed. The main point he makes in today’s column “New Economic Order Demands New Attitude” is accurate if familiar – Canada participates in the global economy primarily […]

Depressing Protectionism?

The notion that tariffs caused the Great Depression has been repeatedly invoked in opposition to allegedly protectionist policies and to press ahead with deregulatory “free trade” deals. Also, the current collapse of international trade is sometimes cited to suggest a rising tide of protectionism today. Yesterday, Paul Krugman had an excellent post debunking the underlying […]

TVO Trade Panel

It is not every day that two Relentlessly Progressive Economists appear on the same TV panel. But Andrew and I did exactly that on last Wednesday’s episode of The Agenda with Steve Paikin. We debated international trade with a World Bank economist, Cato Institute analyst and Canadian trade lawyer.

Buy American Deal: Did We Get Hosed?

I was going to comment on Jim’s post, but ended up writing enough to warrant a new post. Jim correctly argues that Buy American provisions are tiny in the grand scheme of Canada-US trade. Similarly, whatever potential procurement preferences Canada bargained away would also have been tiny by this standard. The overall economic effect of […]

Paul A. Samuelson 1915-2009

Paul Samuelson was the greatest economic theorist of the 20th century. If we see Leon Walras, with his general equilibrium theory, as the Newton of economics – which I think Samuelson did – then Samuelson was its Einstein. In his Foundations of Economic Analysis in 1947, he laid out the fundamental mathematics that underlay the […]

Buy American Negotiations

It remains unclear whether or when Canada-US negotiations on “Buy American” policies might produce a deal. While such a bilateral agreement could serve both countries well, Canadians should resist pressure to have our provincial and municipal governments sign onto the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Government Procurement. A Canadian exemption from Buy American requirements makes […]

The Opposite of a Buy Canadian Policy

Last week, the Minister of Finance announced his aspiration to unilaterally eliminate Canada’s few remaining tariffs on imported machinery and equipment. Saturday’s Globe and Mail quoted me doubting this proposal given the severity of Canada’s offshore trade deficit in that area. I elaborate my case in the following op-ed, which is printed in today’s Financial […]

Current Account: 2008 vs. 1999

Initial reports of this morning’s current account deficit emphasize that the fourth quarter of 2008 was the first such deficit since the second quarter of 1999. While correct, this historical comparison overlooks a crucial difference. Canada’s balance of investment income has always been negative. In the second quarter of 1999 and most previous quarters, Canada’s trade […]

The Trade Deficit and Buy Canadian Policy

A standard objection to the Buy Canadian policy proposed yesterday by Canada’s largest industrial unions was that Canada enjoys a trade surplus. Such a policy would allegedly prompt foreign retaliation, erasing our current trade surplus and its contribution to aggregate demand in Canada. This morning, Statistics Canada reported that we actually ran a merchandise trade […]