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

By Theodore H. Cohn | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

A Special Joint Committee of the Canadian Senate and House of Commons was established in June 1985 to make recommendations "concerning the objectives and conduct of Canada's international relations." In its final report, the committee noted that "the dominant fact of Canada's international relations" is how it "relates to the United States." 1 This preoccupation with the United States is reflected in the many studies on U.S.-Canadian ties, but surprisingly little attention has been given to interactions between the two countries in the agricultural trade area. Agricultural economists have analysed American and Canadian trade policies in some detail, but they are usually less concerned with political factors. 2 As a result, the issue of Canadian-American agricultural trade relations has not been systematically examined through the broader lens of the international relations specialist. 3 A major reason for this lack of attention is that both states send their principal food exports (grains and oilseeds) primarily to third countries. Most studies of U.S.-Canadian relations focus on issues that can be examined in a more exclusively bilateral context, such as foreign investment, energy, cultural sovereignty, and trade in manufactures.

In recent years, some specialists have recognized that a serious shortcoming of contemporary foreign policy analysis is its frequent depiction of Canada and the United States as a dyad, a pair separable and separated from the rest of the international system." 4 These authors have devoted more attention to third- country issues, but they generally have not focused on agricultural trade. 5 This book is designed to remedy these deficiencies by examining Canadian-U.S. agricultural trade relations from the perspective of international politics. Third-country issues involving surplus disposal, export credits, export subsidies, and pricing policies are given the most emphasis; but strictly bilateral

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