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maintain some room for maneuver.xxxvii  Following a second review of the relationship with Latin America in 1989, Canada became a full member of the OAS in 1990.  Humanitarian aid was increased throughout the region but especially in Central America, and development assistance was concentrated on Central America and the Caribbean.  Trade promotion programs were focussed on Mexico and the Southern Cone Countries, Chile plus Mercosur.

Looking to the future, Mace and Goulet argue that:xxxviii

It seems there will be no turning back on gains made thus far.  Furthermore, Canada’s status in the world has changed since the 1950’s and 1960’s, and the country has considerably fewer options now.  Africa offers little promise, Canada is no longer a significant player in Europe, and the Canadian position in Asia remains highly uncertain.  More importantly still, the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with the USA has sealed our fate as a member of the Americas.

Indeed, they argue that the primary problem facing Canada is the overwhelming domination of the hemisphere by the US and Brazil.  In order to exercise some control over their affairs, the authors suggest “a sort of informal concert of middle powers in the region.”

In several instances, after being rebuffed by the US congress in an initiative to achieve closer trading and investment ties with the US, bi-lateral agreements have been signed with Canada.  Small compensation, to be sure, but this does enable Canada to continue to assert its independence from the US.  This has been especially true in Canada’s openness to cultural, educational, investment, tourism and trade ties with Cuba.  In this instance Canada has been able to position itself in alignment with the EU both in general bi-lateral relations and in more specific opposition to US initiatives such as the Helms-Burton Act, which penalizes foreign citizens and companies having contact with Cuba.

5d.EU and ACP – The European Economic Community negotiated the Lomé Conventions, in the mid-1970’s, with 70 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries that were members of imperial or colonial preferential trading arrangements with individual European countries.  The primary powers were, of course, Britain and France.  The objective was to protect these developing nations from being excluded from their major industrialized market by the common external tariff of the EEC, as well as assuring that Europe would have privileged access to raw materials from ACP countries.  Trade liberalization on both global and regional levels has cast a less favorable light on arrangements such is this that fall short of full compliance with the principle of non-discrimination of the General Treaty on Tariffs and Trade, predecessor of the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Preferential trade arrangements are generally allowed only if it is understood that they will be instrumental in moving all participants in the direction of the WTO’s ultimate objective, global free trade.  The EU obtained a waver for the Lomé Convention until the year 2000, but understands that any successor agreement must be fully WTO-compliant.

In recent years the EU preferential treatment of bananas from ACP countries, especially from the Caribbean has developed into one of the most heated trade conflicts between the United States, acting on behalf of large US-based multinational companies with plantations in Central America.  The WTO has acted favorably on a complaint presented by the US but the EU is slowly exhausting all avenues of appeal and delay in implementation.  Should the US finally act to limit access to its market for a variety of non-related EU goods, the cost to European companies and workers could be far

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