The intellectual focus
This theme combines expertise on economic and monetary integration with legal expertise; this combination reflects the fact that international trade law, international dispute resolution, and international taxation laws critically affect Canada’s economic relations with Europe. The joint structuring of economic relations on the North American-EU axis or Canada-EU axis poses some very concrete policy challenges for Canada. An example (on which de Mestral is expert) involves negotiations on a new air transport agreement; energy issues, which intersect with the environment theme, are also important. Canada recently agreed on a new bilateral initiative to enhance the Economic Partnership, while the province of Quebec has concluded an agreement with France on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications in 2008. These issues take on increased urgency and a new complexion with the stalling and potential failure of the Doha round. Although Canada is represented in all relevant international economic institutions, it is more a policy-taker than a policy-maker in global economic affairs. The EU, in contrast, with its common economic policies and the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), is considered the global pace-setter in the field of regional economic integration. On the global-regional level Canada is a nominally equal partner in an asymmetric North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), while the EU has formed a denser network of institutions that economically bind its Member States to one another and present a common approach with external economic actors and institutions (Helleiner 2006). However, the onset of the financial market crisis has generated stress not only inside the Euro area but also on the processes of European integration and Europe’s relationship with the world. Canada needs to understand European approaches to these issues both to assure that we retain a competitive edge, and also to maximize opportunities in EU-Canada economic relations (McKay 2001).
The EU’s economic unity and size mean that Canada is strongly affected by repercussions of the EU’s agenda setting power. However, one should not underestimate Canada’s potential for influencing its economic relations with European partners, as well as for impacting policy strategies in international as well as regional forums (Verdun 2006). Both Canada and the EU are subject to the disciplines of Article XXIV of the GATT 1994 and must respect them as they approach the negotiation of a trade agreement in 2009. Other issues relate to monetary policy and currency fluctuations, posed starkly by the strong depreciation of the US dollar against the euro and Canadian dollar; the EU’s internal economic, monetary and fiscal arrangements (e.g., the European single currency and the Stability and Growth Pact) set a context for the European reaction to these developments (Verdun 2000, Huebner 2005). Canadian scholars are actively involved in research in the areas of monetary and financial market integration, trade, and foreign investment (Bowles forthcoming, Crowley 2004, Helleiner 2006, Helleiner and Pickel 2005, Huebner 2005, Schure, Wagenvoort and O’Brien 2004), focusing on the role of governments, central banks, bank syndicates, and non-governmental actors such as trade unions, employers’ associations, think tanks, and interest groups, geared particularly to their relevance for the Canadian policy context. A further dimension to the relationship is posed by the enhanced interest of the EU in becoming the principal regulator and negotiator of foreign investment issues. Foreign investment provisions may well be part of the future trade agreement between Canada and the EU. De Mestral has recently completed a three year study of regional trade agreements, with support from the SSHRC and is currently involved in a three year study of international investment agreements, also with support from the SSHRC.
Bowles, P. (forthcoming) Endangered Species? National Currencies and Globalization. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Crowley, P. (Ed.). (2004). Crossing the Atlantic: Comparing the European Union and Canada. Ashgate: Aldershot, UK.
de Mestral, A.L.C. et al, chs I, XII & IX in The McGill / Concordia Report on International Aviation Policy for Canada (McGill Centre for Air and Space Law 2005 pp. 327) at pp. 1 – 10, 243 – 290.de
Mestral, A.L.C. & Jan Winter “Giving Direct Effect to NAFTA” in IRPP, The Art of the State , Vol II, no 6 pp 35 – 98 (2004)
de Mestral, A.L.C, Hague Academy of International Law, The North American Free Trade Agreement: A Comparative Analysis, 275 Recueil des cours 223 – 416 (1998) [Published in 2000]
Helleiner, E. (2006). Towards North American Monetary Union? : The Politics and History of Canada’s Exchange Rate Regime. McGill/Queen’s University Press.
Helleiner, E. & Pickel, A. (Eds). (2005). Economic Nationalism in a Globalizing World. New York: Cornell University Press.
Huebner, K. (2005). “Can Money Ground identity? The case of the euro”. Eurostudia, 1(1).
Huebner, K. (2011). Europe, Canada and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. New York: Routledge.
McKay, D. (2001) Designing Europe: Comparative Lessons from the Federal Experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Schure, P., R. Wagenvoort & D. O’Brien (2004). “The Efficiency and the Conduct of European Banks: Developments After 1992″, Review of Financial Economics 13, 371-396.
Verdun, A. (2000). European Responses to Globalization and Financial Market Integration; Perceptions of EMU in Britain, France and Germany. International Political Economy Series, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan/ New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Verdun, A. (Ed.). (2006). Britain and Canada and Their Large Neighbouring Monetary Unions. New York: Nova Publishing.