Japan, Canada to launch free trade talks


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2012 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

TPP anyone

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't worry..the talks will get stuck once Japan refuses to put up its agriculture sector on the table because it needs " special consideration" ....just like the talks with Australia...stuck for years...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Can we get cheaper ice hockey equipment from Canada?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So Canada must not grow any rice?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Canada grows some of the most expensive rice in the world, check what a kg of WILD RICE goes for, makes J-rice cheap in comparison!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is smoke and mirrors as Harper faces controversy at home over a fraudulent election with "robocalls".

Also a columnist here has pointed out that all PM's before him have mentioned manufacturing while PM Harper is only mentioning our raw materials.

Stepping backwards everyday

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is smoke and mirrors as Harper faces controversy at home over a fraudulent election with "robocalls".

Also a columnist here has pointed out that all PM's before him have mentioned manufacturing while PM Harper is only mentioning our raw materials.

Stepping backwards everyday

From the perspective of an American, Canadian liberals seem rather whiny. Harper has successfully navigated Canada through the global recession without racking up a huge debt. Also, maybe the reason he mentions raw materials is because that's what Canada actually has a huge comparative advantage in?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Harper had a 12 billion surplus and now has a 45 billion deficit. The banking sector protections that protected the country from recession were not his but the previous government. He has since watered down those protections, cut $50 billion to the rich and is doing everything he can to destroy Canada to become more like the USA (no offence)

Please stick to knowledge from your own country.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Correction, the exact figures a la CBC were 13.8 billion surplus to 35 billion deficit.

Here's a breakdown of Canadian deficit spending from past governments. http://tinyurl.com/79zvej8

It was Chretien in the 90's and Martin who put Canada into surplus and made sure the banks were not merged.

Harper is now a spend and big government business lackey and the deficits are getting bigger as big business get more tax breaks.

We indeed used to have a winning formula. Harper broke it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He is in Japan because of a robocall scandal that threatens to destabilize the legitimacy of his government. That's why he is making the tour and was in Thailand just before Japan, and China before that.

Canadians are getting sick of him so he's shoring up his business contacts rather than face the music of Canadians.

I don't see what merit this will bring to Japan, which clearly doesn't want to change it's agriculture subsidies. That's Japan's business.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Deplore--Harper had very little to do with Canada's success in the latest recessionary times. That Canada was able to battle the recession had more to do with relatively conservative banking and lending standards--not like in the USA where money was dished out to every person who could fog a mirror regardless of whether or not they were qualified or not to pay back their mortgage.

He inherited a budget surplus, and now has the largest deficit in Canadian history. His so called "Action Plan" to combat recessionary times was not much more than sticking up signs in every neighbourhood bragging about some action plan, that in fact never really existed. In other words, putting up signs promoting your own political party--ie electioneering.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Deplore ---

Ironically it was Mulroney just before Chretien that introduced the national sales tax (GST, like a VAT) and set the stage for the run of surpluses with some additional tweaking in the Chretien governments of the 1990's. This is ironic because Mulroney was a Conservative PM and even had a wonderful environmental record, dealt with Acid Rain treaty with USA and even the Ozone Hole. Regan and Mulroney got along very well.

Interesting as well if a 10% GST existed in Japan and USA would both of their deficits be so incredible? As it's a consumption tax, if you are a frugal consumer then only those with extreme wealth are impacted proportionally higher. It rounded off a lot of excess.

Harper, a supposedly Conservative PM, is spending like a drunken sailor and from day one has been doing everything possible to undermine our elections, our environment and shows complete contempt and incapacity and understanding on and about anything around him.

It's as if Cheney were President of the USA and not Bush

Given Australia and TPP I don't see how Japan bothers with this, only to show that a business impression is made while little of value occurs. This is really a marriage of the exact same intention for both the Noda and Harper governments. Look busy but do nothing.

In our case Harper is running and it was more important to go to multiple countries on our dime than protect the sanctity of our elections process, where his very government appears to have benefited from criminal activity. He does not stand up for Canadians, but goes and sells Canada??

We're in real trouble

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Also, maybe the reason he mentions raw materials is because that's what Canada actually has a huge comparative advantage in?

That is a disaster economically speaking. I recommend you to get information on the subject of the "resource curse". Countries with comparative advantages in raw materials in general don't prosper. The reason is that raw material extraction is typically not a high value added activity. If you "specialize" in this, to the detriment of high value added activities like manufacturing, then your employees don't have the money to support the service sector which is the main part of modern economies.

A lot of the ideals around free trade are really utopist and idealists.They don't work all the time, there are conditions for free trade to be beneficial, and these conditions are generally not present. If you look at history, countries that favor free trade do not get rich... they ARE rich to start with, generally thanks to protectionist policies. They grew high value added industries by protecting them, and then advocated free trade when they knew that they had obtained comparative advantages, because comparative advantages are generally not natural advantages. Read Ha Joon Chang or about Friedrich List. No poor country ever became rich by following Adam Smith and Bernardo, they get rich by protecting their industries (see Japan, China, the UK, etc...).

That being said, "free trade deals" are incredibly complex and not about free trade. For one thing, they're all about facilitating the movement of capitals and goods... but generally not about labor. Capitals can demand countries ease regulation about them, but workers can't. This breaks the power balance between employer and employee and is disastrous for the economy in the long term. Another thing is that all countries have things they're not ready to open to free trade. Culture tends to be one of these, agriculture is also. Canada also has policies favoring their agriculture, not generally subsidies, but it has a lot of quota systems to regulate supply of certain foodstuff (for example milk and eggs). Harper cannot sacrifice those (provincial) systems without facing a massive backlash from the agricultural sector and provincial governments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hope this not a push for more Japanese nuclear reactors in Canada! Canada cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima!

Canada does have tha land mass that could generate clean Solar (of all flavors) electricity, which could then be used to disassociate water into oxygen and hydrogen gas, which could then be made into liquid hydrogen (LH) and shipped to Japan to power their generators...

Japan is already considering doing this in Argentina and Australia, and Canada is much closer!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


First of all, Canada has its own type of nuclear reactor, the CANDU. You can be sure that Canada would prefer building CANDU reactors than any other type.

Second, Canada already has many nuclear reactors.

Third, the presence of nuclear power plants doesn't imply that there will be major disasters. France has a lot of them, no major or even significant incidents. The US also has a lot of them, Three Mile Island was the worst incident and its effects for the environment are very minor, people still work in the other reactors of the plant. Nuclear energy is much safer than most forms of energy, coal power for instance is directly implicated in tens of thousands of deaths per year due to respiratory complications just in the US.

Fourth, Canada is not a good place for solar power, because it is too much to the north and too much of it is hardly accessible. You have little sunshine there in the winter, plus it snows, which make it harder for solar arrays to work in a solar farm. So solar farms would work only half the year. It would be hard to install solar arrays on large tracts of land because most of the unused land is covered in forests, so you'd have to destroy a lot of forests for solar farms. And the unused land is not really accessible.

Fifth, the idea of sending compressed liquid hydrogen to Japan is completely and utterly economically unfeasible and wasteful. Hydrogen produced that way, if it ever starts being produced on a large scale, will be used in cars locally. Hydrogen becomes liquid only at -253 Celsius, so you need to cool it down a lot to have liquid hydrogen, which wastes a lot of energy. If hydrogen is not liquefied, the storage capacity is very small, so you would have to ship a lot of containers of it. Some estimates say that if you use electricity to produce hydrogen, you have already lost nearly 40% of the initial electric energy. That's not even mentioning the energy lost at carrying hydrogen halfway across the world.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Canada is home to the world's train maker (Bombardier) and among the world's most reliable nuke plants (Candu). With this "free trade" deal, Canadian business people can surely look forward to seeing Japanese commuters riding in Canadian-built trains and Japanese households drawing their power from Candu reactors.

It's great that Japan has finally embraced the idea of "free trade."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Any time you read an article about Canada, you can be sure to hear a couple of standard canards;

a/ Harper wants to "Americanize" Canada- this is a big shibboleth from the left b/ Harper wants to destroy Canada, usually goes with a/ above c/ Harper is fiscally irresponsible

Personally, I think Chretien, and Martin in particular (Liberal PMs and finance minister) did pretty well, at least in keeping the country solvent. However, during the 90s it was not difficult to do so. Plus, they downloaded a lot of expenses to the provinces, which made the federal numbers look rosier than they should have. Their biggest problem was political scandal.

Harps is a pragmatist above all. He's been in power for a long time and has yet to do anything scary, radical, neo-Con, or fascist (the common charges). Now, he wants to diversify Canada's exports by expanding trade in Asia. Good idea.

To my friends on the left, please remember that it IS possible to disagree with a politician without being hysterical.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Readers, back on topic please. The subject is free trade talks between Japan and Canada.

I'm not sure what Japanese will make of this either. Since this news is a total surprise to Canada, you'd think any PM of a country might have mentioned it in say, an election, or a news conference in his own country first prior to a meeting of the PM's ??? Don't Japanese deserve the glow of international interest rather than just some random announcement?

Normally there is a pecking order, first the lower ministers, then the Minister of Foreign Affairs, then only later or on finalizing does the PM go for a visit. Hence the suggestion here flat out that this is distraction only and not of real action. Where is the Minister of Foreign Affairs? The optics are all off.

Can anyone mention how this is being played in the Japanese media? Has real discussion occurred or are we just trading stereotypes at this point?

FTA are about what we have to offer but also it leads to interaction and cooperation. I hope Japanese can find the raw resources, with manufacturing and our high educational expertise comfortable rather than just cheaper like China. There may be a way to create intelligent business interests. Not common in Japan for instance are co-op (cooperative education) students. We've got tons. C'mon over.

All that aside though, the Canadian PM is currently running away from the media here on the robocall election scandal, so I am feeling embarrassed that Japan is being questioned for its sincerity here. Whatever the optics of PM Noda and his troubles, I feel it taints the process to use people like that. Not cool.

So while interesting for me as a Canadian, unfortunately until Harper comes clean on protecting Canada from fraud during elections, I cannot accept this as heartfelt from both our countries. Note though that this may be ironic on both sides as it may be beneficial without this baggage.

Too bad.

Moderator: Please stay on topic. The robocall scandal is absolutely not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites