Saturday, March 17, 2012
HM PM Harper and the Tories have aggressively pursued free trade. I am very much in favour of free trade. Even Andrew Coyne, hardly a friend of the Tory government is almost complimentary. I agree with Coyne, that unilaterally dropping tariffs is a great idea. I particularly dream of a day when the Anglosphere and then the Commonwealth are huge free trade zones and sanctuaries of freedom. Within the next few years, Canada could well become the freest trading nation on the face of the Earth. Roughly 75% of our trade is already free, thanks to the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement and its successor, NAFTA. And that, as you’ll see, is just the start. A Canada-European Union deal, called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), is at the top of the list, with negotiations predicted to wrap up by the end of this year, perhaps even sooner. About 10% of our trade is with Europe even now: with a free-trade agreement in place, that proportion would be certain to expand. At that moment, we would join a select group of countries — Chile, Colombia, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Peru — with guaranteed access to the two richest markets in the world: perhaps the first of the world’s leading economies to attain that status. I say perhaps. South Korea formally entered into a free-trade agreement with the United States this week, and is awaiting ratification of a similar agreement with the EU, so they may beat us to the punch.