How to promote fair trade?


Machjo
#1
I'm in favour of free trade, as many on these forums know, and so in spite of my lack of support for the Conservative Party, I'm at least thankful that for the next 4 years at least we're not likely to have to worry about a turn to protectionism.

However, come next election, should the left unite, the story could change drastically. In that case, should free trade become politically unfeasable for the government, waht kind of protectionism would you be looking for?

As for myself, one proposal I could see would be raising the cost of resoruces such as gas. It is somewhat protectionist in that it makes local products more attractive than products from farther afield owing to the cost of transportation. It is not totally protectionist though in that, for example, while an Ottawan would find a product from Gatineau or Toronto more attractive price-wise than a similar product from New York State, he'd still find the product from New York State to be more attractive than an equal product from British Columbia. So though it's still not totally protectionist, it still is to a degree.

Another element of a gas tax or other resource tax is that it is not just protectionist but also fair in that just as an Ottawan would find a product from Mexico less attractive than a more local product owing to transport costs, the same would be true in reverse (the Mexican would find Canadian products too expensive for the same reason). So while a high gas tax would reduce Canadian imports, it would also reduce Canadian exports. So while foreign companies might become more tempted to move to Canada or at least to the US near the Canadian border to serve the Canadian market, Canadian companies might also be willing to either establish branches abroad or at least in Southern Canada near the US border so as to avoid the cost of gas to export its products. This would mean taht while Canada would be protecting Canadian jobs, it would not be engaging in immoral beggar-thy-neighbour protectionism but rather engaging in fair trade that can also allow Mexicans to develop their economy too on an equal footing with Canada.

Also, unlike tarifs and quotas, a gas tax would not create artificial inefficiencies involving artificial geographical delineations by requiring eastern Canadians to have to buy from BC when they could just buy from New York state for example.

As for the issue of some companies possibly simply establishing themselve on the Canada-US border, a simple solution would be to establish a free labour movement agreement whereby crossborder workers would be taxed based on country of residence and not country of work, but would also be free to seek work across the border.

I think such a fair-trade agreement would still protect Canadian jobs at least in the Canadian interior without necessarily engaging in the beggar-thy-neighbour economics that would necessitate economic retaliation or that woudl hurt developing countries.

Again, I'm more for truly free trade, but should that ever become truly unfeasable, then a simple gas tax woudl likely be a better compromise than outright tarifs and quotas.
 
petros
#2
Are you okay with the immigrantion that comes with free trade? There are currently 158 free trade deals on the table with the Harper govt.
 
Machjo
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Are you okay with the immigrantion that comes with free trade? There are currently 158 free trade deals on the table with the Harper govt.

I actually see immigration and free trade to be part and prcel of the same market. In fact, I'd argue that for free trade to be effective, we do need more immgration precisely so as to allow workers to follow the jobs if necessary.

This is not to say we can't have basic rules such as that to come to Canada you need to know the local language for example, and likewise vice versa. Or that we can't establish common international education standards for various trades and professions and expect foreign workers and immigrants to meet those standards to work in this or that industry.

Beyond those basic language and qualification requirements though, we ought to ahve a more open labour market without a doubt.

Should pressure to introduce tarifs or quotas increase, then I'd say at the very least let's exempt workers' co-opreratives from such quotas. Again, I'd be opposed to such quotas, but should push come to shove and the political climate clearly turn to protectionism, then at the very least I'd say workers' co-operatives are about as democratic as you can get. How can you argue abuse of workers in workers' co-ops?
 
petros
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

I actually see immigration and free trade to be part and prcel of the same market. In fact, I'd argue that for free trade to be effective, we do need more immigration precisely so as to allow workers to follow the jobs if necessary.

Does that include the loophole that makes it possible for someone to by-pass normal immigration channels simply because they started a business in Canada?
 
Machjo
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by petros View Post

Does that include the loophole that makes it possible for someone to by-pass normal immigration channels simply because they started a business in Canada?

Here's my take. Ideally I'd like to make it easy for people to come to Canada. Pragmatically though, I think it necessary to make it no more difficult to stay in Canada than it is to come to Canada. So if we don't want people to stay in Canada, then let's be fair to them and make it more difficult for them to come to Canada. My reason for this is that it's cruel to give a person a false sense of hope by making it easy for him to come and then dash his dreams by making it difficult for him to remain. So while ideally I'd rather it be easy for them to come, pragmatically I'd say regardless how easy or difficult we choose to make it for people to come, once here they ought to be free to stay and so immigration must be made easy once a person makes it to Canadian soil. If we don't want them there, it's not once we let them in that we should decide that. The human element must always be at the forefront here.

Now as for businessmen, again, whatever the rule is, as long as it's no more difficult for him to stay as it was to enter. Once on Canadian soil, he ought to be free to stay. If we did not want him here in the first place, out of consideration for him, we should have not let him in in the first place. Now that he's hre, let him stay.
 

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