From “Outside Looking In” to Being a Player: Canada’s Forward-Looking Trade Agenda
Ivey Business Journal
Canada’s economic axis was originally domestic, running east to west. Later, with the North American Free Trade Agreement, it ran north to south. Now, Canada is in free trade negotiations with the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and has a bilateral pact with Japan. This article, by a former senior policy advisor to the prime minister of Canada, begins by examining Asia’s economic miracle, including China’s rise and Japan’s generation of the largest increase in wealth creation in world history. It then describes the proposed but somewhat uncertain Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would include various Pacific nations, as well as Canada and the United States. It argues that the top priority for Canada should be a bilateral free trade agreement with Japan and that three issues should guide Canada’s actions: a) Canadian manufacturers can become part of Japanese global manufacturing by producing specialized parts; b) Japanese banks, trading firms, and manufacturers have entered into alliances and networks to invest in new technology, share production, transfer technology, and enter new markets; c) Japan, which invented lean production and just-in-time production, is aggressively transforming global supply chains and Canada could become a North American gateway for container flows from Europe and Asia. In describing the global economic climate, this article shows the economic shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the importance of leveraging the new opportunities therein.
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