Three metaphors inform policy models of Canada’s international trade and the integration of its economy with the world: “gateways,” “supply chains,” and “trade corridors.” The metaphors emanate from at least three separate departments of the federal Government of Canada. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade – specifically, the Ministry of International Trade – are pursuing a “gateways” model, particularly focused on Canada’s trade with the Asia-Pacific rim. For the past approximately two years, the federal Department of Industry has sought to drill down on how especially Canada-U.S. trade occurs within corporate entities with the concept of “global supply chains.” Particularly in the mid- to late-1990s, the federal Department of Transport focused its policy development efforts on using “trade corridors” as a means of understanding Canada’s infrastructure needs in respect of trade.
At Greenlighting Trade: 2007 we discussed each, including strengths and weaknesses of each as a metaphor surfacing key insights into Canada-U.S. Trade. We pointed to the strengths of “trade corridors” to account for the strengths of the other metaphors. We described Canada’s six largest export sectors or trade corridors, especially in relation to the United States. We summarized challenges arising from the three most valuable sectors, then took a look at how recent policies of the federal government and recent agreements between the U.S. Government and the Government of Canada have responded to and affected these. Finally, we described in more general terms “the Canadian advantage” factors that position Canada favourably in respect of international trade with the United States, in particular.