The International Politics of Agricultural Trade: Canadian-American Relations in a Global Agricultural Context

By Theodore H. Cohn | Go to book overview
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Preface and Acknowledgments

This book results from my long-term interests in food aid, agricultural trade policy, and Canadian foreign policy. In my research and teaching, I have found that the voluminous literature on Canadian-American relations rarely mentions agricultural trade issues. On the other hand, most of the international relations literature on food and agriculture devotes little attention to U.S.-Canadian interactions. Agricultural economists have analysed American and Canadian policies in some detail, but their studies tend to be highly technical and less concerned with political factors.

There are many reasons why international relations scholars have devoted so little attention to Canadian-American agricultural trade relations, and they are outlined in the first chapter of this book. One of the most important reasons is that the United States and Canada send their principal food exports--grains and oilseeds--primarily to third countries. Most studies of U.S.-Canadian relations have focused on issues that can be examined in a more exclusively bilateral context, including foreign investment, energy, cultural sovereignty, and trade in manufactures. Nevertheless, when the linkages between Canadian- American relations and the international system are clearly recognized, the importance of agricultural trade issues becomes more evident. While this book discusses strictly bilateral issues such as Canada-U.S. trade barriers and the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, the main emphasis is placed on third-country issues: surplus disposal, export subsidies, export credits, and international pricing.

My analytical framework relies on several approaches because no single theoretical approach seems adequate. References are made to Realist and Interdependence theories in international relations and to some of the literature in

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