Monday, September 25, 2006

Canada's Free Trade Deals: A record of grotesque abysmal failure.

Our first free-trade agreement (with the United States in 1989) has been studied to death. But the next four deals with Mexico, Israel, Chile and Costa Rica have hardly been studied at all. They should be, because they indicate that, where free trade is concerned, Canada is getting worse with practice.

These agreements spur dramatic increases in trade volumes on average by 200 per cent across the five deals, over their first 10 years. But in each of the later four deals, Canada's imports grew far faster than our exports: by 275 per cent after 10 years, versus 86 per cent for our exports. Collectively, our deficit with those four countries worsened by $9-billion under free trade. Only with the U.S. did exports grow as fast as imports.

Even more incredible, under each deal (including the U.S. one), Canada's market share in the imports of our trading partner actually declined. A free-trade agreement is supposed to provide preferential market access. Yet every time we've signed one, our market share has shrunk....

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