The 20th Century’s international trade dynamics, particularly between Western partner states, were been driven by post-WW2 globalization and an ideological bent for open markets. The culmination of this effort was the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and the NAFTA in 1994. Based on free trade alliances, and in Europe’s case a common currency, the bet was that alliance partnerships could best defend against the rise of Technological Japan. The real threat however lurked in 1990s economic reforms in China and the Soviet Bloc and the influence of their defiant rules-averse approaches to market growth. Today, an unprecedented Presidency in the USA pivots wildly in an attempt to rewrite trade rules to match a nationalist, populist rhetorical agenda directed in many ways at those bogeymen. Will it succeed? Should it? How do you price business in Canada when the economy we rely on most is subject to imperial fiat? We will explore this through the lens of the 2017/18 NAFTA renegotiations and the lessons learned therein.
Flavio Volpe, President – Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, Toronto