Canada Britain co-operation makes sense despite the critics’ complaints

The Canadian minister of External Affairs and the British foreign minister have announced a sensible program of sharing facilities in certain posts abroad in an effort to find economies and maximize their shared policy thrust where circumstances warrant. The critics have raised the alarm of returning to our colonial past when we were a ward of Great Britain and before that of France. But we haven’t been that in the case of France for 250 years and in the case of Britain for almost a century.  But we are cousin peoples at least for those who use English as their working and living language. Indeed many of us have family links with Britain as we do with France and the U.S. Just as those who use French feel justifiably a certain  closeness to France and the francophonie similar sentiments exist with respect to Britain. Great Britain in fact is one of our biggest trading partners after the U.S. accounting for over 30 billion dollars of trade and the recipient of over 19 billion dollars of our exports.(See table below courtesy of Statistics Canada) Trade with France in 2010 by comparison amounted to 7.7 billion ,2.3 billion in exports and 5.3 billion in imports. Together Canada and Britain account for over 90 million people of the English speaking world. Britain , Canada and the U.S. successfully fought as close allies during the second world war and although we have not always agreed on foreign policy we often do.We share many common cultural values, a common parliamentary system and the more that Canada grows closer to Europe through trade, education, travel, work exchange and commerce the more opportunities there will be for mutual co-operation that benefits both countries. It seems to me that given that this trading relationship is one of our fastest growing bilateral relationships ( Canada-U.K. trade is more than 4 times as large as
Canada -France trade) it is sensible to further cultivate it as we look to diversify our trade and have a counter weight to our large dependence upon American markets.We have very little to lose and plenty to gain in terms of diversifying our trade and bilateral relationships. For the time being we are talking only about certain administrative cost savings but over time other areas of co-operation may well develop.

Imports, exports and trade balance of goods on a balance-of-payments basis, by country or country grouping
 2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011
 $ millions
Exports 453,951.9 463,120.4 488,754.1 369,343.2 404,834.2 458,191.3
United States1 361,442.1 355,731.5 370,005.3 271,108.7 296,672.0 331,226.4
Japan 10,278.1 10,026.8 11,784.3 8,861.8 9,716.6 11,348.2
United Kingdom 11,282.2 14,152.3 14,029.3 13,046.0 16,985.8 19,431.4
Other European Union2 20,903.7 24,392.7 25,173.5 19,010.3 19,475.8 22,978.2
Other OECD3 16,808.1 19,743.6 20,748.6 16,690.6 17,908.3 20,524.5
All other countries 33,237.6 39,073.5 47,013.1 40,625.8 44,075.7 52,682.6
Imports 404,345.4 415,683.1 443,777.2 374,080.9 413,832.8 455,873.5
United States1 265,088.3 270,066.9 281,535.0 236,289.6 259,952.7 281,226.1
Japan 11,849.9 11,967.1 11,671.8 9,329.2 10,067.2 9,368.4
United Kingdom 9,547.1 9,962.9 11,232.9 8,529.6 9,560.6 10,581.2
Other European Union2 32,547.5 32,403.7 35,461.4 30,240.5 30,788.3 35,280.8
Other OECD3 23,680.1 25,159.8 27,380.4 25,961.7 29,012.9 32,687.0
All other countries 61,632.4 66,122.7 76,495.7 63,730.4 74,451.1 86,730.1
Balance 49,606.5 47,437.3 44,976.9 -4,737.7 -8,998.6 2,317.8
United States1 96,353.8 85,664.6 88,470.3 34,819.1 36,719.3 50,000.3
Japan -1,571.8 -1,940.3 112.5 -467.4 -350.6 1,979.8
United Kingdom 1,735.1 4,189.4 2,796.4 4,516.4 7,425.2 8,850.2
Other European Union2 -11,643.8 -8,011.0 -10,287.9 -11,230.2 -11,312.5 -12,302.6
Other OECD3 -6,872.0 -5,416.2 -6,631.8 -9,271.1 -11,104.6 -12,162.5
All other countries -28,394.8 -27,049.2 -29,482.6 -23,104.6 -30,375.4 -34,047.5
1. Also includes Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands
2. Other European Union includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
3. Other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) includes Australia, Canada, Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland and Turkey.
Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 228-0003.
Last modified: 2012-05-10.

Find information related to this table (CANSIM table(s); Definitions, data sources and methods; The Daily; publications; and related Summary tables).

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About haroldchorneyeconomist

I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.
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