A couple of days ago I posted some thoughts on “Globalization in Pictures: Courtesy AT & T”.
Then I stumbled across an update of a something far more “under the radar” that I had found back in March of 2009. See below for the link to that post, specifically the section titled “Canada-EU Free Trade?”
The gist of that tidbit from March follows:
Friday I received the daily newsletter from Radio Canada International and once again there were squibs included that I couldn’t find at either the RCI site or when I searched around the CBC’s news area.
Read these with an eye to several posts that will be starting tomorrow, with American Lassies’s post entitled “THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner.”
OTTAWA: CANADA, EU AGREE ON FREE-TRADE AGENDA
Canada and the European Union have agreed on a framework for negotiation of a free-trade accord after six months of discussions. Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day says the two parties will discuss goods and services, investment rules, intellectual property and free circulation of workers. The minister says Canada’s provinces will take part in the negotiations. Bilateral trade last year was worth $90 billion, an increase of seven per cent over 2007.
Well, guess what? Things have been moving along…and include MORE than Canada and the EU.
From Fortune at money.cnn.com:
Tax-free Champagne, anyone?
European and North American politicians are plotting the biggest trade deal of the 21st century: a $35 trillion, duty-free region encompassing the E.U., the U.S., Canada, and Mexicoby Erik Heinrich, contributorLast Updated: October 29, 2009: 2:17 PM ET
TORONTO (Fortune) — Not even Franz Kafka could have dreamed this one up.
This past spring, prime ministers Stephen Harper of Canada and Mirek Topolanek of the Czech Republic met with European Union mandarins from Brussels. The setting was Prague’s medieval castle — made famous by Kafka in what is perhaps the darkest novel in his moody oeuvre — where they hatched a plan for the biggest free-trade deal of the 21st century.
How could a development of this magnitude result from a fairly routine conference between Canada and the EU? (At the time, the Czech Republic was responsible for the trading bloc’s presidency, which rotates between member states every six months.) The short answer is that after decades of spinning their wheels, Canada and the EU finally agreed to begin negotiating a free-trade agreement (FTA).
Immediately after declaring these talks as “hatching” the plans for “the biggest free-trade deal of the 21st century,” the reporter immediately shifts gears:
That’s far from a Bond-villain plot for world domination. But fast forward to last week in Ottawa, Canada, where the first round of Canada-EU negotiations reached a successful conclusion, with both sides optimistic that a deal can be signed as early as the summer of 2010.
Wow, I’m so relieved! No “plot for world domination” here!
But it all boils down to trying to save the neck of the U.S. apparently (my bolding):
When that happens, a push will begin for the ultimate goal behind the Prague agreement: a NAFTA-EU trade zone to counterbalance the growing economic power of Fortress Asia, and the ascendancy of the so-call BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) group of countries.
“The U.S. will lose its leadership position in trade unless it comes up with a new strategy,” says Steven Schrage, a specialist in international business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. “It makes sense to integrate NAFTA with the EU.”
Annual two-way trade between Canada and EU is about $100 billion, less than 20% of the total between Canada and the U.S. under NAFTA. But a trans-Atlantic NAFTA-EU trade zone would encompass nearly 1 billion people and account for $35.2 trillion in annual GDP, more than half the world’s total.
The article continues by noting that China, India, and the 10 ASEAN nations (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) are “not standing still.” Our buddies at Goldman Sachs opine that “by 2050 the world’s three biggest economies will be China, the U.S. and India in that order, compared to the U.S., Japan and Germany today. That represents a clear shift away from the G7.”
A NAFTA-EU trade deal may get stiff opposition here in the U.S. Why?
However with protectionist sentiment in the U.S. gaining momentum, helped in part by President Obama’s controversial Buy-American position, getting the world’s biggest economy to expand its free-trade frontier could be an uphill battle. At least for the near term.
But wait a minute…
Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic provided a transcript of Obama’s musings in his piece of February 3, 2009 titled Obama Wants “Buy American” Out Of Stimulus Bill and you can find more stories on the “back down” below!
So, the Fortune report seems to have “forgotten” what went on in February. Which begs the question–how “uphill” will be this “battle” to integrate NAFTA with the EU in the “near term”?
In my last post I listeda series of posts related to globalization and here’s the link to the post by American Lassie titled THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner (March 9, 2009) that was mentioned above.
So, do you think all this NAFTA-EU “conflict” will be settled sometime next year?
Well, silly me! The Fortune article actually informs us that “both sides optimistic that a deal can be signed as early as the summer of 2010.”
Everything right on schedule!!!
Related Post on Canada-EU Free Trade from March 2009:
The Past Week: March 1-7, 2009 (More on Sinclair Lewis; Canada-EU Free Trade?; China Eyeing the Big Three Automakers’ “Juicy Bits”?; Palin’s “Troopergate” Foe Winds Up In Obama Administration)
Related Posts from February 2009 on Obama’s backdown on “Buy America”:
Obama backs down over ‘Buy America’ after EU warns him not to start a global trade war (Daily Mail, UK)
Don’t worry about ‘Buy American’: Obama (Rediff India Abroad)
Filed under: Current Politics, World News | Tagged: "Buy American", American Lassie, ASEAN nations (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Barack Obama, Brazil, BRIC countries, Canada-EU free trade, Center for Strategic and Internationa Studies (CSIS), China, Fortress Asia, Fortune Magazine, Franz Kafka, free trade, G7, globalization, Goldman Sachs, India, Marc Ambinder, Mirek Topolanek, Radio Canada International, Russia, Stephen Harper, Steven Schrage, stimulus bill, The Atlantic | 7 Comments »