By macleans.ca - Friday, February 8, 2013 - 0 Comments
Violence along the border has been rising, but new trade agreements can establish needed trust
While violence along the border between India and Pakistan has been rising in the disputed Kashmir region over the past month, coverage of the tensions is hiding a surprising reality: warming economic relations between the countries are giving rise to hope of a thaw in their historically strained relationship.
Trade between the nuclear neighbours has been rising steadily since 2004 and hit nearly US$2.7 billion in 2011; it’s expected to increase further since the two nations signed several new trade agreements last fall. And an expansion of the Wagah-Attari border crossing—the main land route between India and Pakistan—last April has allowed previously heavily restricted truck traffic to jump significantly.
All this is good news, says University of Western Ontario professor Salim Mansur: “Trade, travel and commerce will help to break down suspicion between the two peoples.” He cautioned, however, against getting too hopeful, noting that the trade agreements were a long time coming and there are still many other issues that need to be worked out. Still, “any small step forward in a long journey is positive and something to be cheered,” he says.
The new trade arrangements are expected to increase bilateral trade to $8 billion in the next two years.
By From the editors - Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 11:43 AM - 0 Comments
This government has been very aggressive about announcing free trade deals–not so much about closing them
Listen to his critics and you’d think a blinding “neo-conservative ideology” is what motivates Prime Minister Stephen Harper these days. Yet in sifting through his six years in power it’s much easier to find evidence of opportunistic pragmatism than any specific ideology.
Regardless of this week’s budget, the Harper government has already proven itself to be the biggest spending government in Canadian history. And while it talks a lot about taxes, Ottawa is actually creating a more complicated and less efficient tax system through its creation of myriad tax credits aimed at tiny slices of the population for such things as children’s dance lessons, team sports, work tools or public transit.
The federal government has also been quick to remove the right to strike from unionized workers—the widespread animosity of the current Air Canada labour dispute is directly attributable to this instinct for control over letting negotiations take their course. It has, as well, interposed itself into deals between interested buyers and sellers, such as with the Potash Corp. decision. None of this is the stuff of standard economics textbooks.