The Economic Impact of Canada-United States Regulatory Convergence: From the Canada-United States Auto Pact to the North American Free Trade Agreement and Beyond

By Leatherberry, Wilbur | Canada-United States Law Journal, Winter 2011 | Go to article overview

The Economic Impact of Canada-United States Regulatory Convergence: From the Canada-United States Auto Pact to the North American Free Trade Agreement and Beyond


Leatherberry, Wilbur, Canada-United States Law Journal


Session Chair--Wilbur Leatherberry

United States Speaker--Meera Fickling

Canadian Speaker--Maureen Irish

INTRODUCTION

MR. LEATHERBERRY: Thank you, Dan. On behalf of my faculty, colleagues, and the others in the Law School community, I welcome you to Case Western Reserve University School of Law for this conference. I have the privilege of introducing the panel for the Economic Impact of Canada-United States Regulatory Convergence: From the Canada-United States Auto Pact to the North American Free Trade Agreement and Beyond.

One of the things I remember about Henry is a fourth principle that Dan did not mention, and that is that the conference should run on schedule. One of my jobs is thus to try to keep us on schedule. I will not take too much time, but I do want to introduce our two speakers.

Meera Fickling (1) is a research analyst from the Peterson Institute for Economics in Washington, D.C. (2) She has been a research analyst since 2008. Her areas of research include climate change and trade issues, particularly in North America. She is co-authoring a book on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (3) and climate change policy to be published in 2010.

Maureen Irish (4) is a professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Windsor, Ontario. She teaches international economic law, international business transactions, Canada-United States legal issues, and private international law, what we would call our conflicts of law. She is the author of Customs Valuation in Canada, (5) and editor of The Auto Pact: Investment, Labour and the WTO, (6) and some other publications. She has served on dispute settlement panels under the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (7) and NAFTA.

Without further ado, I will introduce Meera Fickling, who will be our first speaker. We will reserve time at the end of this program for questions.

UNITED STATES SPEAKER

Meera Fickling *

MS. FICKLING: Thank you. (8)

FILLING THE LEGISLATIVE VACUUM: LOCAL, REGIONAL, AND EPA CLIMATE CHANGE EFFORTS AND UNITED STATES-CANADA INTEGRATION

Meera Fickling *

Introduction

The December 2009 Copenhagen climate conference was not a high point in the history of international negotiations, but many viewed the non-binding commitments made there to be a step in the right direction. (9) Both the United States and Canada pledged a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. (10) Along with international pressure, these commitments encouraged other countries such as China, Brazil, and India to follow suit with limits on the emissions intensity of their economies. (11)

These commitments follow a long history of inaction, however, which has proven difficult to reverse. The sharp recession in 2009 significantly reduced carbon emissions, (12) making targets set according to 1990 or 2005 levels easier to meet. But the wrenching economic adjustments have conversely made the task all the more difficult politically, and both United States and Canadian governments have chosen not to enact economy-wide climate change regulation at this time. (13)

In the existing vacuum of legislative action, various states and provinces have pursued their own climate change policies. (14) Federal regulatory agencies in the United States may also play a role in the near future. Although bilaterally coordinated, economy-wide climate legislation would be the best policy for both countries, it seems the near-term goal will instead be to coordinate this patchwork of policies in the absence of leadership from national legislatures.

Why Have an Integrated Energy Policy?

Canada and the United States share a common environment and a long history of environmental cooperation. The 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty established the International Joint Commission as a forum for cooperation on water issues, (15) and the 1978 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement established common water quality responsibilities for the region. …

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