Plan for More Benefits from Free Trade Plus

By Wilson, Michael | Canadian Speeches, September-October 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Plan for More Benefits from Free Trade Plus


Wilson, Michael, Canadian Speeches


Ottawa and the provinces are said to need a co-ordinated plan to enlarge the successes of the North American Free Trade Agreement and gain more mutual trade, economic and security benefits from our relations with the United States. There is much to be gained. A customs union involving specific sectors such as automotive, energy, steel and computers could yield meaningful economic benefits. Speech to the 72 annual Couchiching Couchiching Conference, Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs conference, Geneva Park, Ontario, August 7, 2003.

**********

Recently your president, David McGown, expressed some concern regarding the support of the Progressive Conservative party for NAFTA, open markets, WTO, free trade policies and so on.

Out of that discussion came the idea for this panel on the receptiveness among Canadians for expanding and broadening NAFTA in the context of possible future directions for trade policy.

First, let me be quite clear. The Progressive Conservative party is fully committed to open markets and NAFTA. Our new leader, Peter Mackay, has publicly stated this in strong terms. I can also say that, in discussions I have had with him on the review which he has promised, he is quite committed to exploring opportunities to broaden Canadian trade opportunities. That likely will be the thrust of the review of NAFTA that will follow from his discussions at the time of the leadership convention.

Trade has been good for Canada. The current minister for international trade recently described NAFTA as an "unqualified success," making a "strong contribution" to job creation, innovation and opportunity among Canadians.

Some numbers--our total merchandise trade with the U.S. and Mexico amounted to $584 billion in 2001. Canadian direct investment in the U.S. was $198 billion in 2001. U.S. direct investment in Canada was almost the same--$215 billion. Mexico is now Canada's sixth largest trading partner with $15.1 billion in two-way trade, and $2.5 billion Canadian direct investment in Mexico.

All three countries have benefited and, again in the trade minister's words, "NAFTA has made North America one of the most efficient, predictable and transparent regions in the world in which to conduct business."

I quote Mr. Pettigrew on this to demonstrate how far the current governing party's policy has come since 1987 when they were adamantly opposed to the FTA to their current position of unqualified support for NAFTA.

In other words, there is no turning back on free trade, NAFTA or open markets. The question today is how to improve upon this and where are the best opportunities.

Let me step back for a minute from the trade question itself and focus on two related issues--September 11 and the nature of the U.S.-Canada bilateral economic relationship.

The profound impact that September 11 has had on the U.S. in particular, has caused the external focus of that country to shift. Trade relations with Canada must be seen in the context of their much broader security concern. Trade and investment flows were causing the border to disappear. Now, after September 11th, the border has become a potential barrier to these flows. Security, immigration, transportation patterns, investment flows must all be considered in any future trade policy discussions.

The broader national security attitudes of the U.S. Administration will also colour trade policy decision-making. If Canada is viewed as a less reliable or less supportive partner in a security sense, it will affect our ability to influence positive changes in market access. We must be proactive in seeking change that will complement or support security considerations in order to achieve our trade policy objectives. The converse is of greater concern. If we are not seen as a supportive and reliable neighbour, we could find ourselves on the defensive, a most unattractive prospect.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Plan for More Benefits from Free Trade Plus
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?