Back-of-Envelope Math on TILMA
It seems to me that, compared to an international free-trade agreement, TILMA provides none of the potential benefits (i.e. tariff reductions) and all of the costs (i.e. regulations harmonized to the lowest common denominator and businesses suing governments).
As Marc noted below, the Government of BC claims that TILMA could add $4.8 billion to provincial GDP.Â A Government of Quebec report, updated last month, indicates that BCâ€™s gross exports to Alberta (goods and services) were $8.8 billion in 2002. Since BCâ€™s total inter-provincial exports grew by 22% between then and 2005, its gross exports to Alberta might have increased to somewhere around $10.7 billion. It seems wildly optimistic to imagine an Alberta-BC free-trade agreement raising BCâ€™s GDP by an amount equal to about 45% of its current exports to Alberta, especially since gross figures significantly overstate the contribution of exports to GDP.
In his critique of the Agreement on Internal Trade,Â Marc notesÂ that trade is far more intense across provincial borders than across national borders. The same is true of investment and migration,Â implyingÂ that whatever inter-provincial barriers exist are extremely low.