Amadeusz Juskowiak

Talks show new canadian confidence group says

Canadas decision to raise the issue of a free trade pact with the US was a sign of what many see as a new spirit of Canadian selfconfidence a public policy study group said

It suggests the Canada of the immediate postwar period when it was a major player in the process of building a postwar world the Washingtonbased Atlantic Council said

US and Canadian negotiators opened talks last summer aimed at dismantling trade barriers between the two countries the worlds biggest trading partners with crossborder shipments of about 150 billion dlrs annually

The councils study said the trade talks with a deadline of October for an agreement are the biggest issue in USCanadian relations

The study said liberalized trade between the two countries would improve the competitiveness of their economies in world markets and lessen trade irritants which now mar their ties

The council said in the past most Canadians have shied away from the notion of a freetrade arrangement fearing to be overwhelmed economically and politically by a closer association with a country 10 times their size in population

But at the same time it added Canadians realized their domestic market was too small to permit the mass production and sales needed to raise productivity to the level demanded by an increasingly competitive world

The council said that in the talks Canada is chiefly interested in minimizing the imposing of US duties against allegedly subsidized exports

A recent example was the 15 per cent duty the US imposed on Canadian lumber exports on grounds the shipments were being subsidized

The council said the chief US concerns included ending curbs against US banking insurance telecommunications and the socalled cultural industries publishing broadcasting and films

It said other major USCanadian issues were defense cooperation acid rain and the US rejection of a Canadian assertion of sovereignty over waters of the Northwest Passage