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Home Policy Articles: International Trade, Development & Finance: World Trade Organization


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Bad Medicine: Trade Treaties, Privatization and Health Care Reform in Canada popular

Jim Grieshaber-Otto and Scott Sinclair examine a central and recurring theme in Canada’s health care debate: whether private financing and for-profit delivery of health care should play a greater role. They contend that exploring Canada’s international trade-treaty obligations as well as the scope of exemptions for health care under those treaties, add a critical dimension to this important debate.

"Free Trade:" Is it Working for Farmers?

Darrin Qualman’s article “Free Trade:” Is it Working for Farmers? argues that free trade agreements have dramatically altered the relative size and market power of players in the agri-food production chain. While Canadian agri-food exports have experienced dramatic increases since the institution of free trade agreements, realized net farm income has remained stagnant. Qualman claims free trade has two effects on agriculture: 1) it turns the world into a single hyper-competitive market, and 2) it facilitates agribusiness mergers and conglomeration.

A Guide to the Enron Collapse

In A Guide to the Enron Collapse, Darren Puscas provides a condensed summary of the major events leading to Enron’s 2001 downfall. Puscas’s analysis includes potential trouble spots that should have been noticed before the collapse, a discussion of the role played by the broader economic crisis at the time, and an examination of Enron’s role in pushing negotiations to secure the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Additionally, Puscas considers whether a similar incident could happen in Canada and proposes lessons that might be learned specifically by Ontario Hydro, in light of the Enron debacle. The analysis concludes with calls for a structural overhaul of the American and Canadian corporate system, changes Puscas believes will make corporate finance more transparent and prevent similar incidents in the future.

Building New Bridges: The Case for Strengthening Transatlantic Economic Ties

This report, by Hancock and Robson, is accompanied by a statement from the British North American Committee (BNAC), a group of leaders from business, labour, and academia in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. The BNAC is committed to the maintenance of harmonious, constructive relations among the three countries and their citizens.

Canada's Secret Constitution: NAFTA, WTO and the End of Sovereignty?

In Canada’s Secret Constitution: NAFTA, WTO and the End of Sovereignty?, Stephen Clarkson examines the effect of international treaties on Canada’s domestic policy. Treaties, Clarkson asserts, internationalize part of a state’s legal order.

From Public Good to Private Exploitation: Electricity Deregulation, Privatization and Continental Integration

Marjorie Griffin Cohen’s paper From Public Good to Private Exploitation: Electricity Deregulation, Privatization and Continental Integration argues the public provision of electricity is in a precarious position due to forces driving industry deregulation. Though Canada’s electricity industry remains largely publicly owned, Cohen believes the industry is invariably headed towards privatization.

Globalization and the North: Impacts of Trade Treaties on Canada's Northern Governments

The book’s introduction and summary are available in PDF format, however the entire book is available only from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). Noel Schacter, Jim Beebe and Luigi Zanasi argue that Canada’s three northern territories are even more vulnerable than the provinces to the impacts of international trade treaties signed by Canadian federal governments.

Putting Health First: Canadian Health Care Reform, Trade Treaties and Foreign Policy

The authors of Putting Health First: Canadian Health Care Reform, Trade Treaties and Foreign Policy, argue Canada needs greater coherence between its approach to health care, on the one hand, and its approach to trade and foreign policy, on the other. They claim international treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) could negatively affect important aspects of the Canadian health care system.

Rough Trade: A Critique of the Draft Cancun WTO Ministerial Declaration

In this brief report, Scott Sinclair examines the Doha round negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), particularly the meeting in Cancun. Leading up to the Cancun meeting, the author explains that nearly every major deadline set in the Doha Declaration has been missed, despite nearly two years of almost continuous, intensive negotiations since the last ministerial.

Telmex Panel Strips WTO of Another Fig Leaf

In April 2004, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favour of the US against how Mexico regulates Telmex, the country’s major telecommunications supplier. In this brief report, Ellen Gould examines this dispute panel ruling in which the US successfully claimed that Mexico was violating the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

The GATS US-Gambling Decisions: A Wakeup Call for WTO Members

Ellen Gould argues that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Panel decision on measures affecting the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services has significant ramifications, not only for the US – but for all WTO members.

The GATS, South African local government and water services

In this brief report, Scott Sinclair examines the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). He points out that, although GATS is still not widely known or understood, negotiations are now underway to expand its coverage and to develop new GATS rules designed to further restrict domestic regulation. According to Sinclair, as a key World Trade Organization (WTO) member, South Africa will face pressure to cover additional services under the Treaty, including water and sanitation services.

Thinking Outside the Trade Treaty Box

At the Canadian Labour Congress Industrial Policy Conference, Scott Sinclair argues that while trade treaties have limited many of the traditional tools of industrial and economic development policy, room to manoeuvre still exists.

Trade in Services: An Opportunity for Canada

In January 2003, the Public Policy Forum was asked by Industry Canada to assess the concerns and reflections of key Canadian stakeholders interested in the round of negotiations taking place at the time pertaining to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) through the World Trade Organization (WTO).

When Worlds Collide: Implications of International Trade and Investment Agreements for Non-Profit Social Services

Andrew Jackson and Matthew Sanger examine the implications of international trade agreements and investments on Canada’s domestic social policies. Although Canada has vowed its domestic social policies will not be compromised by international trade obligations, it has also been a leading proponent of increasing trade liberalization in the services sector.