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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2
An Overview of Canadian- American Agricultural Trade Relations

This chapter provides a brief historical overview of Canadian-American agricultural trade relations from the 1950s to the late 1980s. Third-country issues are given primary emphasis here, while the strictly bilateral issues are discussed in more detail in Chapter 7. The organization of this chapter is based on one of the agricultural variables--supply in the world market. Five general phases in the evolution of U.S.-Canadian agricultural trade relations can be identified: the build-up of surpluses in the 1950s; the continuance of surpluses in the 1960s; the development of foodgrain shortages in the early 1970s; the reemergence of surpluses in the late 1970s; and the persistence of surpluses in the 1980s. Although fluctuations in supply and demand may occur over much shorter time periods, this general trend approach is useful when examining Canadian-American relations. 1 Some preliminary observations are made in this chapter regarding several of the independent and dependent variables, and these are examined further in Chapters 4 to 7.


THE BUILD-UP OF SURPLUSES: THE 1950s

Global demand for wheat imports declined sharply with the end of the Korean War in 1953 and the gradual adjustment to peacetime conditions. At the same time, wheat production and stocks in the major exporting countries were increasing to record levels as a result of technological advances in agriculture, U.S. price support policies, and West European protectionism. The surplus conditions contributed to tensions and conflict in Canadian-American relations, largely because of differences in the economic size and capabilities of the two

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