North american free trade, public goods, and asymmetrical bargaining: the strategic choices for Canada

Maxwell A. Cameron

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Resumen

Una perspectiva de política pública sobre el acuerdo norteamericano de libre comercio no captura la lógica esencialmente política de las negociaciones entre Canadá, México y Estados Unidos, puesto que estos estados-naciones actúan diferencialmente en búsqueda tanto de beneficios económicos como poder político. Desde esta perspectiva, la renuencia de Canadá a aceptar el acuerdo se puede explicar por la siguiente razón: los políticos canadienses no vieron en un acuerdo trilateral de libre comercio la posibilidad de realizar beneficios económicos significativos o la manera de obtener mayor influencia política. Sin embargo, una causa principal de la renuencia de Canadá a participar en las negociaciones del Tratado de Libre Comercio queda afuera de la esfera de teorías sistemáticas que presumen que los estados-naciones son actores unitarios: la inestabilidad canadiense ha reducido la capacidad de este país a aspirar a un resultado mutuamente benéfico.


ABSTRACT

A public choice perspective on a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) falls to capture the essentially political logic of the negotiations between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. States persue political power as well as wealth. Whereas Mexico sought economic benefits from NAFTA, the United States was more motivated by geopolitical than economic interests. Canada's reluctance to accept NAFTA was due to the fact that Canadian politicians expected to achieve neither substantial economic benefits nor increased political influence under a trilateral free trade arrangement. However, a major cause of Canada's reluctance to join NAFTA talks falls outside the scope of systemic theories that assume states are unitary actors: political instability reduced Canada's bargaining horizon and lowered its motivation to pursue a mutually beneficial outcome.

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