Press-Republican

Columns

November 24, 2013

Free trade deals should benefit all

Our region well understands mutually beneficial trade. The North Country has been trading with Quebec since it was called Lower Canada two and three centuries ago.

This trade was based on mutual advantage, the notion that voluntary trading partners participate only if both sides benefit, and comparative advantage, which allows us to focus on what we do well as they do likewise.

Even the North American Free Trade Act worked well for both sides of this border. Similar wealth, values, opportunities and legal principles meant both nations could freely share their endowments of resources and entrepreneurship. Granted, Canada probably benefited more as a share of their economy, but only because the mutual and balanced flow of trade between our two nations constituted a much larger share of their much smaller economy.

The United States’ free-trade experience with Mexico was a bit different. There was, and remains, a wide income gap, which translates into different sensibilities with regard to protection of the environment, of human capital and of intellectual property. Free trade is helping to level the income imbalances and is ameliorating this differences, slowly and over time. I am confident that these two nations are converging on a balance that respects each other’s values.

However, such a balancing of values takes generations, even between two countries with the historical ties and migrations of Mexico and the United States. In the meantime, international tribunals must iron out differences that often result in the adoption of lowest common denominators between competing economic or societal systems.

For instance, if domestic U.S. law conflicts with a NAFTA provision, an international tribunal must find a solution that does not frustrate the NAFTA goals. This at times either subverts U.S. law or requires the U.S. to compensate our partners for losses they might incur by having to abide by U.S. legal principles. Either solution tears at our domestic fabric by reducing our domestic sovereignty or by subjugating our values to an international economic court.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Web doctor always gets it right I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 18, 2014

  • Canadiens are Canada's team The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time