From Canada and Beyond: More Trade Benefits All

By March 17, 2008Trade

Dalton McGuinty, premier of Ontario, writing in The Financial Times, “There must be no turning back on Nafta.

The eight Great Lakes states plus Ontario account for 30 per cent of North America’s employment and output and a healthy 36 per cent of its manufacturing employment. Every day, about $900m worth of goods travels between Ontario and our Great Lakes partners. At the Detroit-Windsor gateway alone – the busiest in the world – $122.8bn worth of goods, 6.5m trucks and 6m cars cross each year. This has helped create an integrated Great Lakes economy where products are made – not on the Canadian side, or the American side, but together as a region.

For example, a part produced in Ohio could find its way into a car assembled in Ontario, which in turn could be shipped to Europe. Resources produced in Ontario can be sold in the US, turned into products and sold again in the Canadian market.

Meanwhile, Harvard economics prof Greg Mankiw takes another look at sentiment among economists and finds little change: A vast majority of all political stripes still support free trade. From The New York Times, “Beyond the Noise on Free Trade“:

With the two political parties apparently divided on trade policy, you might expect those free-trade-loving economists to be predominantly Republicans. But that’s not the case. One reason is that economists are not single-issue voters. Like everyone else, they are divided over contentious issues like health policy, the Bush tax cuts and the war in Iraq.

BUT another reason is that many economists don’t really believe the populist rhetoric coming from the Clinton and Obama campaigns. They expect that once in office, either candidate would pursue a policy more like that of Mr. Clinton, who relied heavily on the advice of economic moderates like Mr. Summers and Robert E. Rubin, another former Treasury secretary. When reports surfaced recently of an Obama economic adviser telling the Canadian government to ignore his candidate’s anti-Nafta rhetoric, some people were appalled, but many Democratic economists I know were secretly relieved.

And from Donald Lambro, “NAFTA naysayers awry“:

[The] United States remains the largest exporter in the world, selling $1.6 trillion in goods and services abroad last year — the fourth straight year of double-digit export growth, says Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Boeing announced worldwide contracts for 85 more planes last week, bringing their total orders to nearly 900 aircraft.

NAFTA has been a driving force in that export growth. Closing the United States off from the global marketplace, or calling for a “timeout,” is a job-killer. The jobs of the future will come more and more from selling our stuff to a growing world economy.

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