Review of Free Trade Agreements and Trade Policies of Canada 2006-2015
Canada’s export recovery since the Sub-prime Recession is the worst in modern history
After 1 year of reviewing Canada’s trade performance in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the benefits of the new free trade agreements signed by Canada since 2006, Senator Hervieux-Payette, Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, had this study conducted in order to separate fact from fiction.
Canada is experiencing a structural shift in its economy, and the Conservative government has never known how to deal with these changes. All it did was sign a record number of free trade agreements. But, in this new context, experience shows that these new agreements will not create trade surpluses or jobs on their own.
Canada’s trade challenges require a modern approach and a strategic overhaul in order ensure that Canadians can succeed in today’s global environment.
Canada’s export recovery since the Sub-prime Recession is the worst in modern history and prior to the crisis Canada’s exports underperformed due to a changing global environment. Trade is being organized into to networks of production known as Global Supply Chains. This report catalogues the impacts of these global forces and assesses if the current policy response will enable Canadians to adapt. It provides seven major policy recommendations:
- All public foreign and domestic commercial policies, programs and organizations should be re-organized under a single ministry;
- Use of modern trade analysis methods and best practices is crucial to crafting policy to confront the global environment;
- A technology program and an adult education program are needed to ensure continued competitiveness.
- A new organization representing and operated by the private sector tasked with export promotion needs to be developed;
- Policies are needed to create a robust network of innovative medium sized firms;
- A National Program is required to coordinate Provincial and Federal policies regarding international trade, this program must also conduct periodic reviews of the entire trade strategy every 2 years. The National Program must also organize a National Public Forum that brings together the public and private sector stakeholders every two years; and
- Give the Parliamentary Budget Officer the mandate and the resources to independently review all free trade agreements; ensure that government publicly issue the negotiated and final texts; and ensure that Parliament ratify all free trade agreements.
Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement: Job Numbers are a Fabrication
The study used to analyze and advocate for the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (CETA) predicts a trade deficit; the data for this study is 11 years out of date and ignores all the economic turmoil of the past 6 years. The economic growth rate for Canada is off by almost 50% and off by 85% for Europe. The study’s simulation is based on an unrealistic timeline that assumes the WTO’s Doha negotiations would be completed in 2014. Finally this study did not produce a figure of 80 000 jobs. The often boasted 80 000 new jobs has no substantiation. What is known is that the Minister of Trade and the senior public officials involved with CETA must be aware of this fabrication given the way they have presented the 80 000 jobs figure to Parliament and the Canadian public.
The Canadian economy is an area of interest for all citizens. Knowing that we have a strong and vibrant economy assures us that we will be able to continue to enjoy and improve our quality of life and be able to confront the challenges of the day. Sometimes those challenges are the very obstacles blocking our economy from further growth. This Section will be devoted to the economy. As such we will be posting announcements, studies, analyses, etc on this page.
Currently our trade performance has revealed a need to alter course. Unlike in years past, the trade surplus has diminished into a deficit. Productivity growth has not kept pace with similar countries. Our largest trade partner continues to dominate our export market, meanwhile new developing economies have are gaining greater shares in the United States and Canada. The growth of our exports to the remaining developed economies appears to be saturated, which are our largest export markets. This new reality for Canadian trade is not without opportunities, however the Federal Government Trade Policy must acknowledge the current situation and develop policies that will enable all Canadians to benefit from their trade agreements that the Federal Government has signed on their behalf.
Personnel within my office worked on a study that profiles Canada’s International Trade challenges and opportunities. The study also scrutinizes the current export promotion services offered by the Federal Government and determined that the current format is up to the task when compared to Canada's international peers. The report also provides potential solutions that are currently being implemented in other countries around the world.