Development of Postwar Canadian Trade Policy

Development of Postwar Canadian Trade Policy: The Failure of the Anglo-European Option

Copyright Date: 1992
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Development of Postwar Canadian Trade Policy
    Book Description:

    Muirhead agrees that any government must work to maximize national income and independent choice. He shows that Canada actively pursued a policy of multilateralism and non-discrimination as epitomized by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. In addition, the government tried unsuccessfully to resurrect commercial ties with the United Kingdom, its largest pre-war overseas market. Muirhead finds that in both these efforts Canada was thwarted by postwar realities that hindered its exploitation of markets in Britain and Western Europe. The United States remained the only market able and willing to absorb the billions of dollars of Canadian exports on which Canada's prosperity depended.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6352-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. 1-2)
  6. Introduction: Bilateralism, Trilateralism, and Multilateralism, 1930–45
    (pp. 3-15)

    In general terms, this book is about the evolution of postwar Canadian trade policy, which was in large part the pursuit of multilateralism and non-discrimination and found its stride amid the ashes and ruins of World War II. If Canadians in the prewar era had been satisfied with, as R.D. Cuff and J.L. Granatstein have described it, a “bilateral imbalance within a balanced North Atlantic triangle,” they no longer were.¹ In 1945 theirs were enlarged horizons, more befitting a major “middle power,” and they intended to take full advantage of the new opportunities that beckoned. Any discussion of the development...

  7. 1 The Decline of Anglo-Canadian Trade, 1945–50
    (pp. 16-46)

    “After the war we must protect our best market to the extent of helping the UK rebuild its economy,” Minister of Munitions and Supply C.D. Howe told Prime Minister King in mid-1944.¹ Faced with the potential disruption of North Atlantic trade due to the continuing economic problems of the United Kingdom, the King government had reason to be concerned over the general thrust of British policy. Ottawa was most anxious that Britain return, with some Canadian assistance, to a convertible and non-discriminatory regime. British prospects, however, were not encouraging.

    Even the thought that the Britain might not agree with these...

  8. 2 The Failure of the Multilateral Option: The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1945–51
    (pp. 47-75)

    In the immediate postwar period, the Canadian government considered a number of trade policy options in its search for economic stability. These included British preference, bilateralism, and multilateralism. In the words of Robert Bothwell and John English, this situation represented a maze in which there was no “right” choice, but only varying shades of gray.¹ Each policy had its advantages, but also its limitations. British preference, which was of potential benefit to Canada, had caused trouble with the United States during the 1930s and had the potential to undermine the Anglo-American and Canadian-American relationships in the 1940s. And the US...

  9. 3 “Hold That Line:”: Continued Dollar Discrimination, 1950–57
    (pp. 76-107)

    The years following 1950 proved to be critical in terms of the Anglo-Canadian trade relationship. The war in Korea, which began in June 1950, imposed a burden on all of Canada’s allies, but particularly on the British. Re-arming caused a sharp burst of inflation and a world-wide shortage of certain raw materials, many of which were available only from the dollar area. This resulted in increased prices, which contributed materially to balance of payments and dollar crises in Britain during 1951. Determined to lessen the impact of these developments, the Labour government and, after October 1951, the Conservative government of...

  10. 4 The Organization for European Economic Cooperation, Dollar Restrictions, and Canada, 1948–57
    (pp. 108-133)

    One of the more important aspects of the ERP was its emphasis on a common European approach. When in June 1947 Secretary of State George Marshall announced his government’s intention to partly fund Europe’s dollar shortage, assistance was made contingent on interested countries submitting a single proposal. Most of Europe complied, applying for Marshall assistance through the ERP office in Paris and pledging themselves to expand production, reduce barriers to trade, and establish internal financial stability. The OEEC established and promoted by the United States, initially to disburse assistance through the Marshall plan, was to be, in American minds at...

  11. 5 Canada and the GATT, 1952–56
    (pp. 134-162)

    Since the first round of tariff negotiations at Geneva in 1947, Canada had relied in large measure on the GATT to provide the leverage necessary to prod other countries into lowering tariffs and liberalizing trade. Through Geneva and the following rounds held at Annecy (1949) and Torquay (1950-51), Canada met with other contracting parties to encourage multilateral reductions. However, as a result of British and European use of non-tariff barriers against dollar imports, the primary benefit to Canada from the exercises came from agreements made with the United States. At GATT administrative sessions, held at least once per year, Canada’s...

  12. 6 Canada at Sixes and Sevens
    (pp. 163-177)

    In terms of foreign economic policy, the Liberal years in office ended in June 1957 much as they had begun with the renewal of Mackenzie King’s mandate twelve years previous. Trade discrimination had been a way of life then and, by 1957, it had become, in certain ways, even more deeply entrenched. For example, the six countries that formed the European Economic Community (EEC) — the Benelux group, France, Italy, and West Germany — had agreed to establish a common market which would reduce barriers to trade among themselves. The EEC gave formal recognition to a situation that had existed since 1945...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 178-182)

    The Liberals were defeated on 10 June 1957 by a resurgent Progressive Conservative party under the leadership of John George Diefenbaker. The new prime minister promised to be a vigorous and dynamic figure, in stark contrast to the rather tired leadership provided in the last years of Liberal rule by Louis St Laurent. And the changeover, completely unexpected by a population grown used to a “governing party,” was made complete by the defeat of C.D. Howe in his Port Arthur seat by a young Cooperative Commonwealth Federation upstart, Douglas Fisher. The “Minister for Everything” was now consigned to the parliamentary...

  14. APPENDIX A Canadian Exports, 1923–57, ($CAN)
    (pp. 183-184)
  15. APPENDIX B Canadian Imports, 1923–57 ($CAN)
    (pp. 185-186)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 187-224)
  17. Index
    (pp. 225-230)