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The Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the direction of Canadian foreign policy in the 1990s

by Bellamy, Sarah

Abstract (Summary)
A patchwork of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements in the Americas has resulted fiom states attempting to secure and diversify their trading relations. Regionalism in the world economy has created trade blocs which are potentially exclusionary. Therefore, Ottawa has pushed for regional integration in the Americas, as Ottawa has claimed that it is in Canada's national interest to protect our economic interests in Latin America. Further pressure to pursue regional integration has also come from the corporate sector as fiee trade agreements protect and promote their growing interests in Latin America. Ottawa has been a leader in the pursuit of greater economic integration in the Americas, as illustrated by Ottawa's decision to sign a bilateral fiee trade agreement with Chile after its failure for accession to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), despite Chile's incomplete transition to democracy. Ottawa's rhetoric toward Central America and South Africa in the 1980s may lead one to believe that Ottawa also considers democracy and human rights promotion to be in Canada's national interest. OEcial government statements claimed that our foreign policy should represent Canada's social and political values. However, a closer look at Ottawa's actions reveals a foreign policy that continuously was based on economic selfinterest during the 1980s and in the 1990s. This provides an explanation why the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement fails to address democracy and human rights issues in Chile. Ottawa will not jeopardize its economic and trade interests for the sake of democratic and human rights issues. In taking this stand, Ottawa has overlooked the link between democratic development and economic progress. Economic growth in Chile cannot continue without addressing the grave social problems that threaten Chile's transition to democracy. Instability in Chile would affect their economic growth. Now that Canada has a tiee trade agreement with Chile, we have an interest in their economic stability, therefore we also have an interest in their democratic stability. Policy makers in Ottawa have not looked out for Canada's 'national' interest as it is in our national interest to promote democratic stability in Chile. Democratic stability in Chile will ensure that both countries continue to grow and prosper under the fiee trade agreement. Abstract
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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