(The Toronto Star)
The Harper government gets an A for effort on expanding trade globally but a much lower grade on actual successes, according to a new report by a high-powered economic group.
The project organized by Carleton University in Ottawa says Canadians have for too long relied on a “culture of comfort” in easy dependence on trade with the United States.
But exports to the U.S., which accounted for 87% of Canadian sales abroad in 2000, declined to 75% in 2010, the group says. “Depending almost exclusively on domestic and U.S. markets for future prosperity is not sustainable,” states the report, “Winning in a Changing World.” It was put together from national consultations by well-known business, academic and government figures, including project co-chairs Derek Burney, Thomas d’Aquino, Len Edwards and Fen Hampson.
Canada is involved in dozens of free-trade talks or pre-negotiation studies, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper often notes approvingly. But the Carleton study concludes Ottawa should prioritize its negotiations to take advantage of possible trade-liberalization rules with countries that are big enough to provide an economic jolt to Canada. Read more here.