Canadian Policies Towards Japan
The Canadian approach to securing market access in Asian countries consists of simultaneously working through the GATT while continuously negotiating on specific issues that arise in bilateral relationships. The relationship with Japan requires further monitoring of the bilateral negotiations and relations between Japan and the U.S. indeed, pressures from the U.S. on Japan may result in a shift in Japan's position which favours the U.S. at the expense of Canada. U.S.- Japan negotiations to remove "structural impediments to trade" may open some new opportunities for Canadian exports but clearly the focus of the U.S. is on the opening of trade opportunities for U.S. business. In general, Canadian trade relations with Japan in the past two decades have been relatively harmonious, which is not surprising given the complementary nature of the Canadian comparative advantage in natural resources and the relative scarcity of natural resources in Japan. Both countries have a stake in preventing protectionist moves in their major market--the U.S.
Some issues, however, have arisen in specific sectors. For example, in the mid 1980s voluntary export restraints were negotiated with Japan in an attempt to protect the Canadian automobile industry from small, fuel- efficient Japanese cars. Similar restraints were also negotiated with Korea.