U.S.-Canada Officials Ecstatic over Trade Agreement / 'We Have Not Had a More Significant Bilateral Trade Negotiation; Not in the Past 200 Years, and We Will No

By Silk, Leonard | THE JOURNAL RECORD, October 1, 1987 | Go to article overview

U.S.-Canada Officials Ecstatic over Trade Agreement / 'We Have Not Had a More Significant Bilateral Trade Negotiation; Not in the Past 200 Years, and We Will No


Silk, Leonard, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Though there is tough industrial and regional resistance to be overcome on both sides of the border, high officials are ecstatic about the new United States-Canada trade agreement.

President Reagan and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney hailed it as ``historic.'' In an interview Tuesday, Clayton K. Yeutter, the United States trade representative, declared:

``We have not had a more significant bilateral trade negotiation, not in the past 200 years, and we will not in the next 200 years. It's more than positive - it's a major net plus on both sides.''

Sylvia Ostry, Canada's ambassador for multilateral trade talks, agreed that both sides would benefit. But she said the relative benefits for Canada would be greater in the short run with its increased access to the much larger American market.

Stephen Blank, director of the Institute for United States-Canadian Business Studies at Pace University, also said Canada would gain more in the short run but that America would gain ``in the middle run'' as the countries ``keep on moving toward closer integration.''

The greatest benefit for all, Ostry argued, would be halting the trend toward protectionism and opening trade opportunities not only in goods but also in services and intellectual property.

These are new areas high on the agenda for the Uruguay Round, agreed to at Punta del Este, under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

``The Uruguay Round offers a challenge and an opportunity not just for trade ministries but for government policy as a whole,'' Ostry said in her lecture last week at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. A successful Uruguay Round would spur economic growth, stabilize exchange rates and ease the debt crisis, for expanded trade holds the key to all.

In the original Bretton Woods plan after World War II, an International Trade Organization was to be the third leg of the world economic system (with the IMF and World Bank as the two others). But the trade organization was never created; instead a relatively weak general agreement was. Now the original challenge of a stronger trading organization has been revived.

The challenge comes, Ostry held, at a time of unique transformation in the world economy:

- The trade imbalances, with the United States in deep deficit and other industrial nations in heavy surplus.

- The information revolution linking financial markets and production and the emergence of a multipolar world, with the American, Japanese and West German economies the main centers - but centers that could split apart in a crisis.

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