Corporations and the Capture
of Trade Policy
The replacement of tariff barriers with non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to trade, combined with the increasing globalization of international business during the 1980s, has complicated the development and implementation of Canadian trade and industrial policy in the 1990s. Canada by the mid-1980s was facing what it perceived as the increasing abuse of the U.S. administrative "unfair" trade law mechanisms against Canadian-based firms, particularly those dependent on manufactured resource-based exports to the United States. International economists and other trade experts have also contended that many U.S.-based firms during the 1980s learned to use that country's "unfair" trade law mechanisms as a legal means for denying entry at reasonable prices to a variety of foreign competitors. This problem was specifically addressed in Canada by a Royal Commission set up to examine the competitiveness of the Canadian economy ( Canada 1985d). The Macdonald Commission, as it was colloquially known, concluded that
U.S. trade policy is created and applied through political and legal processes which decentralize decision-making power and enhance the political influence of relatively small and narrowly based interest groups such as unions and trade associations. The most notable examples of this fragmentation of power within the U.S. system are the legal mechanisms that afford producers contingent protection from import competition. These mechanisms usually involve countervailing duties, anti-dumping duties and emergency protection for U.S. producers suffering serious competitive injury from imports (302-3).
The report went on to note that