Country Analysis: Canada
The economy of Canada is put up on the strong foundation of lucrative trade in the country’s plentiful natural resources, industrialization as well as innovative products and services to other nations. In line with other developed and developing nations, Canada heavily depends on trade, both domestic and international, in a bid to sustain the incomes and living standards of its citizens, as well as for the nation’s prosperity. In the year 2011, the country’s total imports and exports of goods and services were nearly $1.1 in total. On average, the amount translated to approximately $31, 600 for every Canadian citizen, or a total of $ 3 billion every day. For the same period, the entire size of the Canadian economy, as determined based on its gross domestic product (GDP), was $ 1.7 trillion. Based on the figures, the trade share in the entire economy translated to 63.3 percent for the financial period. Over the decades, the trade share in the economy has continued to grow, particularly in the 1990s when it rose close to 34 points. The rise was attributed to the elimination of a majority of the tariff barriers dampening trade between Canada and two critical trading partners, Mexico and the United States.
In Canada, it has been researched and confirmed that out of every five jobs held in the country, one is wholly dependent on trade, be it international or domestic trade, either directly or indirectly. From a different perspective, this understates the dependency of the nation and its citizens on trade. The organization and structure of Canada’s economy depend on trade and the integration with regional as well as global networks of trade.
Exportation allows citizens to sell their products and services in exchange for foreign produced goods and services. In addition to supporting the citizens in terms of employment, trade translates to improved production beyond what is produced in the domestic market. This permits economies to scale in production which lowers production costs, eventually leading to lower consumer prices. Additional competition also means that producers strive for excellence by seeking out efficacy innovativeness in production. As opposed to producing more, firms shift their focus onto specializing in products and services, where they gain an advantage by producing quality products. This move drives up productivity thereby allowing workers to receive higher wages, which in turn translates to increased prosperity due to improved living standards and additional taxes. Eventually, the country’s prosperity increases.
Canada has eleven free trade agreements incorporating many nations the world over. The major agreements, including the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), are still in the pipeline to ensure that international trade is well facilitated. Despite the massive effort that the government has put in place to promote international trade, the domestic market in Canada has remained very limited as it has been blocked by the use of provincial barriers. Over the years, these barriers have cost the industries billions of dollars as a result of their inefficiency.
In line with the Canadian Constitution Act of 1967, trade barriers have been prohibited. However, these exist between the provinces within the country as opposed to existing between Canada and some other foreign states. These are based on province by province specific rules and have been designed to safeguard the interests of the region while risking distorting the markets. Regional programs have also been put in place to effectively get rid of competition arising from other regions. This move ensures the promotion of local industries. Provincial authorities in Canada include regional restrictions of procurement aimed at protecting the local industries. Eventually, these result in a variety of trade barriers, which ultimately means that availability of daily supplies of milk, eggs and chicken ease to be dictated by demands of the market. On the contrary, they are controlled by the local provincial marketing boards whose primary priority is the protection of producers’ interests in their jurisdiction at the cost of efficacy, distribution and free trade. Despite the fact that the primary focus of these boards is the welfare of local producers, research has proven that these actions could eventually hurt the farmers in these sectors. The barriers tend to limit agriculture, mobility of labor, the energy sector, wine, beer and spirits. In addition, they tend to complicate the regulatory system due to the fact that they all maintain differing standards.
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Based on the above information, trading within Canada is challenging. In 1994, the Agreement on Internal trade was signed. This promised to enable the elimination of unnecessary barriers of trading within the country, preceding the NAFTA agreement signing.
Trade in the United States is of paramount importance, just like it is in Canada. Currently, the United States is in the process of negotiating a TPP agreement to support the country’s economic growth as well as job opportunities. The agreement shall achieve this milestone by eliminating all barriers for products and services, progressing the protection of intellectual property, and introducing new trade rules that are compliant with the 21st century. The benefits of trade and investment in the United States are that they support the creation and maintenance of jobs, which leads to economic growth in every state. Currently, there are a total of 39.8 million jobs that are supported by trade in the United States. In the period between 2004 and 2013, trade related job opportunities increased by three and a half times faster than the total number of employment in the United States.