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2012-05-30  |  Janet Eaton

OTTAWA — The Harper government has named a group of eminent business
leaders to an advisory panel that will help craft a new global
commerce strategy to be released next year.
International Trade Minister Ed Fast, in a speech Tuesday to the
Canadian Chamber of Commerce, announced the Conservative government's
updated commerce strategy will guide Canada's trade priorities for the
coming years, as Ottawa looks to negotiate or finalize free-trade and
investment deals with the European Union, India, China and the Trans-
Pacific Partnership bloc of Asia-Pacific nations.

But as the Conservatives trumpet an ambitious new trade plan, members of
its own advisory committee have warned the government is protecting an
antiquated supply management system that is hurting the economy.

The government's new global commerce strategy, expected to be ready in
2013, will focus...

2012-05-26  |  Janet Eaton

By Stewart Trew.. May 24th.   On May 23, the United States government posted this simple message to its Federal Register:

The Government of Bolivia has delivered to the United States a notice of termination for the bilateral investment treaty between the two countries, a termination that will take effect on June 10, 2012. As of June 10, 2012, the treaty will cease to have effect except that it will continue to apply for another 10 years to covered investments existing at the time of termination (June 10, 2012).

A 2007 report by the...

2012-05-26  |  Janet Eaton

During the latest round of talks of the Trans-Pacific Partnerships (TPP) "free trade" agreement in Dallas, U.S. trade officials increased the use of heavy-handed tactics at the negotiating table, even giving a prize to the first negotiators to finalize their chapter.But as more information about the TPP comes to light, our elected representatives are exercising their muscle, demonstrating that the U.S. Trade Representative's office is out of step with the American public and Congress.

69 Members of Congress (68 democrats and one republican) sent a letter to President Obama urging him to reconsider US proposals for the TPP that would effectively ban popular Buy American and buy local government contracting policies.An article in the ...

2012-05-21  |  Janet Eaton

By Jim Stanford, Globe and Mail,  Monday, May. 21, 2012 2:00AM EDT
As soon as it won its coveted majority, the Harper government put the pedal to the metal on the trade front, with a stampede of new free- trade deals. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade currently lists 18 different deals in play, ranging from puny (Panama and Jordan) to gargantuan (Europe, Japan and India). Anyone who stands in the way of this juggernaut clearly must oppose trade in general. At least that´s how the Conservatives portray the issue, attempting to brand its New Democratic opponents as economically illiterate dinosaurs.

There´s a big difference, however, between signing free-trade pacts and actually doing something about trade. Canada´s trade performance deteriorated badly over the past decade. The quantity of goods and services shipped abroad is seven percentage points lower than when the Harper government took office, lower even than...

2012-05-21  |  Janet Eaton
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Canadian government’s human rights report tabled in Parliament Tuesday regarding implementation of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement might as well have been a comic strip of three monkeys: “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

Its substance is summed up in the first three pages of the eighteen-page report (that’s counting the title page and two annexes that occupy twelve pages). In essence: there will be no human rights report this year because only nine months have passed since the agreement was implemented.

Never mind that the Canadian government agreed to produce a human rights report by May 15 of this year two years ago. Nor that it was precisely this element of the agreement that allowed the free trade pact to pass through parliament, given that Colombia was (and still is) the most dangerous place on earth to be a...

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