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  • Author: Judit Fabian
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: International trade is often framed in starkly divergent terms: either countries choose multilateral trade agreements (MTAs) and advance the cause of global economic liberalization, or they choose preferred trade agreements (PTAs) and put the entire system at risk. Canada has a long track record of pursuing PTAs and with the Trump administration’s opposition to multilateralism, and longstanding opposition in elements of the Republican and Democratic parties, this trend will likely continue. The question is whether progress will come at the expense of the global trade system. Some economists believe PTAs to be trade-diverting, reducing trade with more efficient producers outside the agreement. Others insist that PTAs can create trade by shifting production to lower-cost producers in one of the participating countries. One prominent contrary argument holds that PTAs lead to discontinuities in tariff regimes between countries and regions, increasing transaction costs, disrupting supply chains, creating opportunities for corruption and harming global welfare, especially in developing nations. While debate continues about the effects of PTAs, a closer examination suggests that worries are overblown about their negative impacts on global trade flows. Evidence indicates that they support rather than harm the international trading system. Countries shut out of PTAs are more motivated to seek out agreements in new markets, increasing liberalization overall. They may also seek a reduction in most-favoured nation (MFN) tariffs, which would deprive PTAs of their major tariff benefits. Studies have found complementarity between preferential and MFN tariffs, revealing that PTAs promote external trade liberalization. Even if a PTA reduces a given country’s incentive to push for multilateral liberalization, it raises the odds of that country liberalizing its trade to avoid getting left behind. PTAs are a response to the difficulties of securing sweeping multilateral agreements. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements authorize them under GATT Article XXIV, GATS Article V, and the enabling clause, and the WTO facilitates a degree of governance over PTAs through its dispute settlement process. Over the past 25 years, countries have adopted these deals at a rapid pace. Between 1994 and 2005, the number of PTAs increased from 50 to 200. By April 2018, 336 were in effect. At the same time, global trade has increased significantly. Between 1994 and 2010, the volume of world merchandise exports more than doubled. The proliferation of PTAs has resulted in a rise in international trade governance, because the countries involved shape their relationships in line with the WTO agreements. This juridification makes PTAs subordinate to the international system rather than giving them room to dissolve it. Canada should therefore have no fear of pursuing PTAs within the larger framework of the effort to achieve multilateral trade liberalization.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Multilateralism, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David J. Bercuson
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: When U.S. President Donald Trump was elected in 2016 on a promise to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada risked losing the free-trade regime that it had enjoyed with the U.S. since the original U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement took effect in 1989. Those who came to Canada’s rescue, by persuading the Trump administration to eventually make a new deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, were Canada’s trading partners in the United States, whose interests were threatened: Nearly two-thirds of U.S. states now have Canada as their most important trading partner. This was indicative of a long-term trade pattern of an ever-increasing closeness in trade between the U.S. and Canada. It is a pattern that started since before Confederation and in spite of not a few attempts in Canada to diversify exports away from the U.S. However, that simply cannot happen in any meaningful way: The 170-year-old pattern of Canada-U.S. trade is now so permanent as to be utterly irreversible. Since the decision by Britain to end tariff preferences for its colonies in the mid-19th century, Canada has naturally sought to penetrate the U.S. market for its exports. The desire has not always been mutual: American protectionism has, at times, hampered the export of Canadian products to the U.S., although tariff barriers have failed to stop what is a seemingly natural and, in many ways, necessary north-south flow of goods and services. Even Canadian attempts to reorient its own trade emphasis to enhance domestic east-west trade, or to expand into countries beyond the United States have made little difference. The trading relationship between Canada and the U.S. has endured through wars and in peacetime, through Republican administrations and Democratic ones. It will only continue to grow. Fantasizing about some markedly different trading future is therefore a waste of Canada’s time and energy, which should instead be expended on further penetrating the American marketplace and solidifying ties with state and local governments, local manufacturing associations, Congress and new industries. Canada should take advantage of its new trade deal with the U.S. to integrate the Canadian economy as fully into that of the U.S. as possible. There may be others like President Trump or some like him in Canada, who try to disrupt the trade relationship. That even Trump eventually was persuaded to agree to free trade with Canada is evidence, however, that an ever-closer trading relationship is simply a reality that cannot be stopped.
  • Topic: Markets, History, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Eugene Lang
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Two hundred and forty days. That is the average length of tenure – eight months – of the national security advisor to the U.S. president during the past two-and-a-half years. With the resignation or firing (depending on who you listen to) of John Bolton, Donald Trump is now on to his fifth assistant to the president for national security affairs, the official title of the job. It is an historic anomaly of epic proportions. Since the position was created during the Eisenhower administration in the early 1950s, on average national security advisors have served 32 months, exactly four times the average shelf life of Trump’s advisors (and Trump is only just over halfway through his first term of office).1 Revolving doors are of course a hallmark of the Trump administration, but does this one really matter?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, National Security, Politics, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Adam Frost, David J. Bercuson, Andrea Charron, James Fergusson, Robert Hage, Robert Huebert, Petra Dolata, Hugh Segal, Heidi Tworek, Vanja Petricevic, Kyle Matthews, Brian Kingston
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Global Exchange
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The fundamental rules of conventional sovereignty are that states will refrain from intervening in the internal affairs of other states, are afforded the right to determine their own domestic authority structures and are freely able to decide what international agreements they choose to enter or not. In principle these concepts have been widely accepted, but are often violated in practice. While conventional sovereignty would appear favourable in theory, realistically, the domestic affairs and foreign policy decisions of states can and do have consequences for others. Poor governance in one state can produce regional instability, from uncontrolled migration across borders, uncontrolled arms trade and other illicit trafficking or the rise of militant nonstate actors. Economic, environmental and health policies of one state can affect the food, water, health and economic security of another. These transnational issues are increasingly complex because the world is more globalized than ever before. No state exists in a vacuum. Therefore, it is often within a state’s interest to influence the policy decisions of its neighbours. Pragmatism often trumps abstract theoretical ideals. The lead package of this issue examines the challenges of securing Canada’s sovereignty from modern threats. When discussing Canadian sovereignty the Arctic will invariably be mentioned, and indeed is the focus of fully half of this edition. David Bercuson, Andrea Charron and James Fergusson argue that the perceived threats to Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic are overblown, resulting in alarmist rhetoric. Robert Hage, Rob Huebert and Petra Dolata, however, content that Canada must be vigilant if it does not wish to erode sovereign control of its Arctic territory. Going beyond the arctic circle, Hugh Segal and Heidi Tworek discuss the challenges of defending against hybrid threats and outline possible steps in response to such perils. From coordinating with our closest allies to no longer tolerate attacks against the integrity of our most valued institutions, to increasing transparency of activities and strengthen public trust in Canadian democracy via domestic measures. Finally, this package concludes on the issue of border control. Vanja Petricevic discusses the shortcomings of Canada’s current management of asylum seekers and how the concept of sovereignty is being adapted to address modern migration challenges. While Kyle Matthews asserts the importance of holding Canadian citizens responsible for their actions abroad because to do otherwise is not only dangerous, but an affront to Canadian ideals. Contemporary transnational challenges are complex and dynamic. The climate is changing, technology is enabling previously unimaginable feats, and global demographics and migration are creating new points of contention. If Canada is to navigate these issues, and defend its sovereignty, it must work closely with its international partners and ensure that it is capable and willing to stand on guard for thee.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Sovereignty, Immigration, Governance, Elections, Islamic State, Diversification, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: China, Canada, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Sarah Goldfeder
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: On Jan. 23, the first Monday after being sworn in as president of the United States, Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum that laid the groundwork for exiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP was the elegant solution to a host of hold-over irritants from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as well as a way to address wholly new issues of trade and commerce. In the wake of this decision, Trump also promised a wholesale reworking of NAFTA, in which everything would be on the table. In the days since, the Trump trade team has been off to a rocky start. Finally, after months of discussion, the notification incumbent for use of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was provided to Congressional leaders on May 18, 2017. Mexico has taken it all in stride, as it took almost immediate advantage of the blusterous U.S. rhetoric to outline its demands for any NAFTA discussion. Canada meanwhile plays the sphinx, open about its willingness to negotiate, but not much else. The U.S. may find that it’s less ready for this round of negotiations than it wanted to be, but its partners are well placed to unite and drive a hard bargain.
  • Topic: NAFTA, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joël Plouffe
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Ten months into Donald Trump’s presidency and there is little indication as to how this administration is planning to actively pursue American Arctic interests in its foreign policy. Former president Barack Obama’s strategy had an ambitious agenda on climate change and regional governance leadership. What we have seen over the past several months in terms of foreign policy outlook has been a mixture of continuity and change. In terms of continuity, the State Department has, thus far, maintained multilateral co-operation in the areas of environmental protection, sustainable development, international scientific research and joint military exercises. It has upheld its commitment to the workings of the Arctic Council – including finishing the U.S. term until May 2017 as the chair – and is more likely than not to continue with the status quo. As for change, by reconsidering the role of U.S. leadership, the Trump administration has signalled its intention to approach the Arctic differently from the previous administration. It has distanced the federal government from the global fight on climate change and its impacts on the Arctic, and worked to reverse the Obama-era ban on oil and gas licensing in U.S. Arctic federal waters. This was part of Trump’s campaign promise to loosen regulations that negatively impact the energy industry. The U.S.-Canada bilateral relationship that had been so close under Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now focused on other areas – especially the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This policy paper looks at the legacies that the Obama administration left in terms of Arctic foreign policy, how the Trump administration has approached the region, and finally, what this could potentially mean for the U.S.-Canada relationship in the North American Arctic.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Borders, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Brian Bow
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The security perimeter agenda is buried, but it’s not dead. U.S. President Donald Trump’s attitudes toward trade, immigration and international institutions make it difficult to work with his administration and may get Canadians thinking about looking for new international partners. At least in the short run, however, Canada has no choice but to try to maintain its bilateral relationship with the U.S., and a crucial part of that relationship is the ongoing effort to make the border more secure and efficient. Significant progress has been made on some of the key policy co-ordination challenges – travel, shipping, border infrastructure and law enforcement co-operation – but there is still a lot of work to be done. Given the priorities and problems of the Trump administration, Canada’s best bet is probably to try to work around the White House on these issues, engaging with other players in the U.S., like bureaucratic agencies, members of Congress, and state and local governments. The focus should be on finding and supporting transgovernmental (state) and transnational (society) allies in the U.S., and Ottawa’s approach should be low key, patient, problem-solving and opportunistic. The most urgent concern is to anticipate and prevent policy changes in the U.S. that might disrupt existing arrangements, but Canadian officials should also continue to look for ways to improve bilateral co-operation on border/perimeter security issues.
  • Topic: Security, Immigration, Trade, Donald Trump, International Institutions
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Alan Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: It is time for the Canadian government to conduct a holistic review of Canada’s national security complex. The Defence Policy Review is floundering as a consequence of an uncooperative world, Canada’s domestic security institutions require legislative empowerment, and the election of Donald Trump has placed increased pressure on Canadian security and defence. Securing the U.S.’s northern border is a no-fail mission for Canada as peace and prosperity depend upon it. However, this must be done within Canadian security norms and values. Only a ground-up examination of the Canadian national security system will elicit a comprehensive understanding of the current deficiencies that will allow focused alignment of government objectives, policies and public funds. Crisis management requires a strategic plan with clear objectives from which to conduct concurrent and coordinated activities. The Trudeau government has the team in place; now, it needs a new National Security Policy statement to assist in “lead turning” an unconventional U.S. administration steadfast in its stance over national security.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Government, National Security, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Colin Robertson
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: For Donald Trump ‘America First’ means ‘America First.’ Canada and like-minded nations will have to get used to it. Canada will have to actively engage with Congress, the states and the private and public interests that drive the American agenda. We will also have to put more effort and contribute more to the rules-based order of which we have been a beneficiary. Traditional statecraft is based on predictability and stability, both hallmarks of U.S. post-war foreign policy practised by both Democrats and Republicans. Predictable, Mr. Trump is not. The deliberation and careful planning that characterized the Obama administration have been replaced by Mr. Trump’s reliance on gut and instinct. Such unpredictability will continue to create heartburn inside foreign chancelleries, whether friend or foe. Where once the USA was prepared to cover the spread on trade and security, under Donald Trump there will be more take than give. Now, Canada and the allies will have to make their own investments in hard power to preserve collective security. But less dependence and reliance on US leadership and more collective responsibility would be a good thing. Middle powers, like Canada, will have to step up their diplomacy, both collective and individual. Focusing on their own niche capacities they will have to shore up the space left by Trump Administration decisions on climate, migration and at the international institutions that sustain the rules-based order. Ironically, one effect of the Trump presidency may be to make the western alliance stronger.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: David J. Bercuson, Frédérick Gagnon, Randolph Mank, Colin Robertson, Robert Huebert, Hugh Stephens, Gary Soroka, Hugh Segal, Daryl Copeland, David Perry, Robert Muggah
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Global Exchange
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Dispatch (later called The Global Exchange) is the Canadian Global Affairs Institute’s quarterly magazine featuring topical articles written by our fellows and other contributing experts. Each issue contains approximately a dozen articles exploring political and strategic challenges in international affairs and Canadian foreign and defence policy. This Winter 2016 issue includes articles on the election of Donald Trump, energy policy, Canadian defense capability, and more.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Energy Policy, Elections, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trade, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, Europe, Canada, North America, Arctic, United States of America