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Think Tank: Protectionism A Danger To Canada

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

19 October 2016

Think tank the Fraser Institute has warned that the rise of protectionism in the US and Europe threatens Canada's future economic prosperity.

The Institute has published "The Importance of International Trade to the Canadian Economy: An Overview," written by Philip Cross, the former chief economic analyst for Statistics Canada. Cross said: "There is growing opposition to the nearly four decades-long consensus regarding the benefits of trade. Canada is a trading nation and a significant portion of the country's prosperity is tied up with our ability to trade with other countries."

The Institute cited the election pledges made by US Presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump as evidence of growing opposition to trade. It noted that Clinton has said she will review the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and that Trump intends to renegotiate the deal, along with their respective objections to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition, it cautioned that the opposition of Belgian lawmakers to the proposed EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement could jeopardize the chances of it being signed later this month.

The report warned: "A concerted move by Canada's leading trading partners to inhibit trade flows would harm the prospects for sustaining rising incomes, on which Canada built so much of its post-war prosperity."

The Institute pointed out that in 2015, the value of Canadian exports accounted for 21.5 percent of Canada's economy. This is up from 25 percent in 1988, when Canada began establishing free trade agreements with the US and other countries. It also highlighted that Statistics Canada analysis has shown that exports directly or indirectly accounted for 2.9m jobs in Canada in 2011, or 16.7 percent of all employment.

TAGS: free trade agreement (FTA) | law | tariffs | trade treaty | agreements | Canada | United States | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe | North America

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