International Trade and Finance: A North American Perspective

By Khosrow Fatemi | Go to book overview

readiness of the United States to use its economic muscle to get its way, and the self-righteousness with which it presently pursues its trade policies all point relentlessly to this conclusion. Certainly the experience of recent U.S. judicial decisions and the few pieces of information that have percolated through from the free trade negotiations give Canadians scant reason to believe that the United States will look with any sympathy upon the social democratic and nationalist tenor of many fundamental Canadian public policies. And this policy Americanization strikes right at the two concerns mentioned earlier, which are at the root of Canadian opposition to a North American common market; it threatens to disrupt the country's social fabric and its political autonomy, which in turn must inevitably undermine its fragile sense of national identity.


MEXICAN PARTICIPATION

Canada would clearly gain in one way from Mexico's participation in a regional common market, for Mexico's presence would dilute U.S. dominance. In matters such as social policy, government intervention, regional policy, investment control, and external commercial policy, Mexico would be Canada's natural ally. Nevertheless, Mexico's participation would not be sufficient to tip the scales.

In the first place it is unlikely that Mexico and Canada together would be able to bring the United States to any significant compromises in the area of policy harmonization. Not only is the United States too ideologically committed, but Mexico would probably not become a fully fledged member of the common market at first and would hence have little influence. Second, Mexico's participation would bring new problems for Canada, notably the question of immigration. Canada would be very unwilling to open up its borders to wholesale Mexican immigration, assuming that Mexicans were foolish enough to want to live in Canada's climate. And the extension of the Maquiladora scheme to exports to Canada would also raise problems. To this extent negotiating an agreement that included Mexico would be more difficult for Canada than a simple bilateral deal, despite any long-term benefits that might accrue.


CONCLUSION

In conclusion, despite the undoubted economic advantages that would flow to Canada from a North American common market, the political and effective price for Canadian participation is too high. It would bring with it the danger of a "brain drain" and a potential immigration problem, it would deprive Canada of control over U.S. and private-sector investment,

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