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Archive for 'trade disputes'

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 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 […]

A stronger economic union?

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 […]

Canada’s trade deficit in cultural services

With the Conservatives’ “Born in the USA” Copyright Act now tabled, the fur is flying. A year after leaping to the defence of the oil and gas industry, Terrance Corcoran has got Big US Media’s back (does Terry ever stand up for anyone but the wealthy and powerful?). As always, Michael Giest, who knows way […]

The End of NAFTA?

Several articles in today’s Globe and Mail assume that the US Democratic Party’s desire to renegotiate NAFTA threatens Canada. On the contrary, Canadians should welcome this initiative. Senators Clinton and Obama have called for limits on the ability of foreign investors to directly challenge public policy under NAFTA’s notorious Chapter 11. Canada has been the […]

The Ontario-Quebec Deal: TILMA 2.0 ?

Today, Premiers McGuinty and Charest kicked off “free trade” negotiations between their provinces. The key question is whether this process will be a sweeping “race to the bottom” like the BC-Alberta Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) or a focused effort to develop common standards in the few areas where problems may exist. As […]

The C. D. Howe Institute on TILMA

Yesterday, the C. D. Howe Institute released a Backgrounder supporting TILMA by Kathleen Macmillan and Patrick Grady. They make the most sensible case for the deal that I have read, but give short shrift to its pitfalls. They previously co-authored papers on internal trade and labour mobility for a federal conference that I attended. Days […]

Comparative Advantage Meets Capital Mobility

Thomas Palley, formerly of the AFL-CIO, just posted a very good piece on “The New Economics of Trade” that clearly connects the dots between several themes frequently discussed on this blog.

The Other National Newspapers on TILMA

Following the National Post’s complete endorsement of TILMA on Friday, The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star ran columns on Saturday that were relatively skeptical of this agreement. As both columns note, the joint statement released by the Premiers in Moncton leaves the door open to making the Agreement on Internal Trade more like TILMA […]

Context on the Canada Post v. UPS NAFTA ruling

The Globe’s story, Canada Post NAFTA win sets precedent, for UPS vs the government of Canada with respect to Canada Post, is a bit misleading. It comes across as “see, those whiners about investor-state were wrong all along”: Chapter 11 was controversial from NAFTA’s inception because critics charged it would allow foreign investors to challenge, […]

TILMA Hearings Continue

After a week of public hearings in Regina, the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on the Economy has moved to Saskatoon. Fortunately, CUPE was able to import Steven Shrybman for some expert testimony. Luckily, he wasn’t caught up in any “inter-provincial barriers” on his way from Ottawa. Some of his testimony was reported in today’s […]

Labour Mobility: The Thin Edge of the Wedge?

A couple of hours ago, Industry Canada put out the following press release.  In forecasting this release last night, Canadian Press again repeated the Conference Board’s thoroughly discredited estimates of TILMA’s benefits. As far as I know, the proposed April 2009 deadline for “full labour mobility” is the deadline toward which provincial governments were already […]

TILMA: A Report from the Front Line

On Tuesday, I testified before the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on the Economy, which is holding public hearings on joining TILMA. The Legislative Assembly is broadcasting the hearings and promptly posting the recordings. To see my presentation, click “Video 1″ for June 5 and use the bar immediately below the screen to advance the […]

Postal Workers Respond to Coyne

Today’s National Post features a stinging reply from Deborah Bourque to Andrew Coyne’s critique of Canada’s postal monopoly. I have no expertise on comparative international postal systems, but the facts outlined by Bourque seem to do serious damage to Coyne’s argument. At this point, the debate appears to pit hard evidence regarding Canada Post’s low […]

The China Syndrome

The following, from today’s Toronto Star, includes some commentary from yours truly: The China syndrome: A new condition characterized by the apparent reluctance of a certain national government to embrace an emerging, global economic power May 05, 2007

TILMA Versus Canadian Football

The Canadian Football League’s season does not begin until June, but debate is already underway about TILMA’s potential effect on its franchises, most of which are for-profit businesses that receive government subsidies. The last federal budget proposed a new Canadian Heritage Sport Fund to promote three-down football, but also proposed to expand TILMA to more […]

Internal Trade Conference

On March 30, I attended the federal government’s conference on “Internal Trade: Opportunities and Challenges,” which was hosted by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and by Industry Canada. Other attendees included academics, federal and provincial civil servants, and representatives of business and professional organizations. The academic and policy people all agreed that the material […]

Robin Boadway on Internal Trade

“Balkanization of our national economic space . . . thicket of provincial barriers.” – Conference Board of Canada, Mission Possible, 2007 “Our federation has been a ‘mini global economy’ for decades. There are virtually no internal barriers to labour and capital mobility, and no tariff-like distortions on interprovincial trade.” – Robin Boadway, “National Tax Policy […]

Doing what we are told

Thanks to Scott Sinclair for bringing a couple items to my attention. Below are two recent articles from the trade journal, Inside US Trade, Canada Moves Toward Ending Wheat Monopoly As Sought By U.S., and Canada Changes Drug Rules To Meet U.S. Demand On Data Exclusivity. It is interesting that capitulation to the US is […]

Softwood capitulation: Not the final word

One more for the softwood file: a commentary by Gordon Gibson from the Globe last week. Gibson regularly flies the flag of the ultra-right wing Fraser Institute but I generally find him to be an interesting commentator on many issues, even when I disagree with him. Perhaps it is because he has real life experience […]

It’s the crude, dude

Sorry Linda McQuaig, but that was the worst title ever for a book. Still, I could not resist using it, so what does that tell you? Last week, Statistics Canada released a short report, Boom Times: Canada’s crude petroleum industry (summary in the Daily here and full report here). Here is an interesting tidbit from […]

Stiglitz: Arrested development

Starting with the collapse of the Doha Round, Joseph Stiglitz beats up on US agriculture subsidies that distort world trade and undermine the position of farmers in the South. From The Guardian: The failure hardly comes as a surprise: the United States and the European Union had long ago reneged on the promises they made […]

Celebrating the collapse of the Doha Round

WTO critic Waldon Bello, with the Thailand-based NGO Focus on the Global South, writes: The collapse on Monday of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations in Geneva is one of the best things to happen to the developing world in a long while. In the past two weeks, in anticipation of the July […]

WTO talks collapse

What a difference a few years make! Five years ago it was looking pretty ugly on the international trade front. The FTAA had a full head of steam, and was Bush’s top foreign policy priority …  at least until 9/11 happened. The post-9/11 climate led to a full court press by the US and EU […]

Softwood: The Final Capitulation

“Guys, stop it! You’re gonna embarass me at George’s birthday party.” PM Harper clings to a crappy deal over the objections of companies representing half the exports to the US. Closer ties to Bush under conservative continentalism have not seemed to win us any favours. Oh, and by the way, Prime Minister Accountability, would you […]

Softwood capitulation part 2

Columnist Paul Willcocks weighs in on the bad softwood lumber deal: VICTORIA – The softwood deal that David Emerson and Stephen Harper are pushing is so bad it’s hard to imagine what they’re thinking. The U.S. lumber industry wins; Canada loses. Canadian companies hand over $1 billion in to the U.S., with about half of […]

Canada’s softwood lumber capitulation

I don’t generally like Gary Mason’s columns, but in this one he does a good job of showing how bad the softwood lumber deal is for BC: … The agreement would allow the U.S. to keep about $1-billion of the $5-billion in penalties collected on Canadian softwood since 2002, and limit shipments to the United […]