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

By Theodore H. Cohn | Go to book overview

them, as many seemed to think--just because we were selling wheat." 33 In the early 1980s, the group occasionally held ad hoc meetings that focused on international wheat-marketing. 34 Most recently, the IP Group has served as a forum for the exchange of legislative views on contentious issues such as the U.S. Export Enhancement Program and the bilateral free trade agreement. 35

The IP Group also has contributed to habits of co-operation that help to explain the meetings between American and Canadian senators from wheat- growing areas during the 1978-79 International Wheat Agreement negotiations (discussed in Chapter 4). These senators held major meetings in June and September 1978 to promote greater co-operation among the exporting states in maintaining wheat prices. However, while the IP Group has provided legislators with greater knowledge and understanding of each other, its overall record has been mixed. In 1975, the Canadian Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs concluded that the group "could become an important instrument for increasing Congressional awareness of Canada" but that it "has not come close to achieving its potential." 36

Another relevant bilateral group is the Canadian-American Committee, which was created in 1957 "to study problems arising from growing interdependence between Canada and the United States." 37 The committee consists of business, labour, professional, and agricultural leaders, and it is sponsored by two nonprofit research organizations--the National Planning Association in the United States, and the C. D. Howe Institute in Canada. 38 Meetings are held twice a year (once in each country) and give members the opportunity to discuss a broad range of issues with government officials, scholars, and other individuals knowledgeable about Canada-U.S. relations. The committee's most important function is to sponsor research studies on the bilateral relationship, and policy statements are released on a number of subjects "to increase public understanding in Canada and the United States of the extent of interdependence between the two countries." 39 The committee's studies include valuable analyses of bilateral and international trade issues. In the 1950s and 1960s, a number of the studies and policy statements focused specifically on agricultural trade problems, but from the 1970s to early 1980s these problems received little attention. This situation paralleled the inattention to the agricultural aspect of Canadian-American relations in the scholarly literature. In subsequent chapters, frequent reference is made to the earlier committee studies.


CONCLUSIONS

Some concluding observations regarding the independent and dependent variables are now in order. First, the limited ability of the GATT and other interna

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