Canada-United States Trade Policy beyond North America

By Cherniak, Cyndee Todgham; Feldman, Elliot J. et al. | Canada-United States Law Journal, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Canada-United States Trade Policy beyond North America


Cherniak, Cyndee Todgham, Feldman, Elliot J., McIlroy, James P., Cameron, Donald B., Jr., Canada-United States Law Journal


Session Chair--Elliot J. Feldman

Canadian Speaker--Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

Canadian Speaker--James P. McIlroy

United States Speaker--Donald B. Cameron, Jr.

CANADIAN SPEAKER

MS. CHERNIAK: Good afternoon. I am going to talk about Canada's trade policy with respect to the Americas, but from a legal point of view, not from a government or government relations point of view. There is a document that can be located on the trade website entitled Seizing Global Opportunities, a Global Commerce Strategy for Securing Canada's Growth and Prosperity. (1) It's about a fifteen-page document. It does not say very much, but you can go look at it at your leisure. It does say that the Canadian government is going to support Canadian companies who are engaged in global commerce, which is your bread-and-butter-type of comment for companies that are selling or investing abroad and have formed partnerships with suppliers, producers, distributors, and innovators located around the world. (2) The Canadian government is going to do what it can to help those companies succeed and prosper in those foreign jurisdictions, (3) and one area that is a target area is the Americas. They say in that same document that they are going to boost Canadian commercial engagement and global value chains, (4) secure competitive terms of access to global markets, (5) increase FDI on a two-way basis, (6) and forge stronger links in the science and technology community and innovation networks. (7)

The reason for this is the concern in Canada of growing protectionism in the United States and around the world. (8) But, most importantly, in our number one trading partner. (9) If there is greater protectionism and policies of protectionism, we need to diversify. Just as my grandfather used to say to me in terms of investing, "diversify, diversify, diversify." So what we're doing at this point in time is looking around and seeing whether or not there are any opportunities to diversify because if there is protectionism, Canadian companies will survive if they have opportunities elsewhere and are not totally reliant on only one trading partner. This is where the Americas come in as a possibility.

I am going to discuss the free trade agreements, bilateral investment treaties, science and technology agreements, double taxation tax treaties, and air agreements that we've entered into recently and in the past few decades, and ask whether we have a trade policy that's focusing on the Americas or not. I think the conclusion is we are hot and cold with respect to the Americas. We are doing some things and we are being aggressive, but if you dig deeper on some of the other things, I think Canada can be doing more than it is doing, and there are opportunities to add to the agenda.

Looking at the free trade agreements in the Americas and those entered into by Canada and the United States, Canada currently has two free trade agreements in effect, Chile (10) and Costa Rica. (11) We also have agreements under negotiation with the Dominican Republic, (12) Honduras, (13) El Salvador, (14) Guatemala, (15) and Nicaragua, (16) and the CARICOM countries. (17) When you look at the United States, there is a fair bit of overlap. A number of the agreements that we have under negotiation, the United States has already entered into. (18) What is particularly interesting is what the United States has under negotiation, or I like to think renegotiation, right now because there are side agreements with Panama (19) and Colombia, (20) but they have not been put through Congress yet. (2) 1 There is a lot of overlap on the countries that we are both looking at in the Americas, and I think that Canada is now going to run a little bit further ahead because of the CARICOM countries and because Colombia will likely be put into effect in Canada. (22)

We started out with the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement. (23) That was Canada's second or third, (24) if you say that the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are two separate agreements, that is why I say second or third, and it is a comprehensive free trade agreement. …

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