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  • Author: Adam Frost, David J. Bercuson, Stephen Blank, Monica Gattinger, Sarah Goldfeder, Colin Robertson, Hugh Stephens, Laura Dawson, Randolph Mank, Ferry de Kerckhove, Colin Robertson, Andrew Caddell, Robert Hage, David Perry, Kelly Ogle
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Global Exchange
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: During the 1947 Duncan & John Gray Memorial Lecture then-minister of external affairs, Louis St. Laurent, outlined guiding principles for Canada’s engagement with the world. In his address, he recognized that Canada could not maintain the standard of living Canadians had come to enjoy in isolation from the rest of the world. He said, “[we] are dependent on markets abroad for the large quantities of staple products we produce and cannot consume, and we are dependent on supplies from abroad of commodities which are essential to our well-being.” This irrefutably remains true today. Canada’s ability to utilize its vast wealth of resources has afforded it the opportunity to become one of the most affluent and developed nations in the world, making the preservation of such ability of vital national interest. However, trade in the 21st century is more complex than ever before. Technology allows for transactions between parties scattered across the globe to occur near instantaneously, and complicates the tracking and classification of many goods and services. Moreover, global political developments and economic transformation are threatening the liberal world order built and protected by the United States since the Second World War. China’s emergence as an economic juggernaut is shifting the global economic centre of gravity. Furthermore, reactionary domestic political forces within much of the western liberal democratic world, including the United States, question the value of continued support for the status quo. Tectonic change is afoot. In response, Canada is charting its path to navigate the challenges of 21st century global trade. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is pursuing a progressive trade agenda as it seeks to modernize existing agreements, implement newly minted agreements, and explore potential future opportunities. The lead package of this issue examines a multiplex of challenges and opportunities presented to those currently crafting Canadian trade policy. Geographically, it spans not only the management of relations with the United States and NAFTA renegotiation, but also the geopolitical considerations of bolstered engagement with Asia and the underappreciated opportunities present in Africa and South America. In addition to "with whom", this package also addresses the "how and why" of trade: the difficulty of adapting trade practices to the digital age and the costs, benefits and limitations of projecting Canadian values via trade relations. In computer simulated and professional chess matches white consistently wins more often than not. The lack of first-mover advantage is a formidable deficit to overcome. Those who are not leading, are fated to play catch-up. The challenges facing Canada’s policy-makers responsible for protecting and advancing our national interest via trade are legion. To optimally address these challenges, Canada is best served by being proactive at the forefront of negotiations. The benefits of cultivating a proactive posture are enticing, and the costs for failing to do so are avoidable. Canada must adapt to the dynamism of the global economic order, or fight to catch-up.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Infrastructure, Internet, NAFTA, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Japan, Canada, India, Asia, North America, United States of America