Differentiating Canada: The Future of the Canada-US Relationship


  • Wendy Dobson University of Toronto
  • Diana Kuzmanovic University of Toronto




Turbulence will mark the world economy in the coming decade as Canada’s traditional trading partners in North America and Europe struggle with slow growth and rising structural unemployment and move, as they must, to restore the health of their public finances. Settling for the status quo is not a compelling option as the US border thickens and Canada stays on the sidelines in two areas vital to its long-term interest: climate change policy and trade liberalization. In this context, the Policy Brief evaluates the strategic options for Canada’s long-standing economic relationship with the United States. The authors propose a two-part proactive strategy. The first part is for Canada to differentiate its economy by building on its macroeconomic, financial and energy strengths relative to the United States and by shaping a best-practice North American climate change policy. The second part of the strategy is to deepen NAFTA by participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a comprehensive, highquality FTA that has strategic attention of the US administration. Any country can join by accepting the agreement’s provisions. The TPP offers at least two strategic opportunities: a comprehensive negotiation in which Canada, the United States and Mexico could upgrade NAFTA and a way to diversify and deepen trade and investment liberalization with major economies in the Asia-Pacific region.






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