May 2013   

Introducing the Council of the Great Lakes Region 

New regional, bilateral organization brings together diverse stakeholders to address economic and environmental challenges

On April 12, 2013, the Mowat Centre of the University of Toronto and the Canada-U.S. Law Institute of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland successfully launched the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR).  Dawson Strategic played a key role in the inception of this organization. While still maintaining DS client work, Laura Dawson will serve as Acting Executive Director, on a part-time basis until a permanent director is appointed. 
  The CGLR fills a void by speaking for the region's interrelated long-term economic and ecological interests and by furthering these objectives through a series of tangible projects, including mutual skills recognition for regional workforce development, the economic impact of declining Great Lakes water levels, and a Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region tourism initiative. READ MORE
Budget 2013 Stays the Course on Trade
No major trade-related announcements, but some changes worth mentioning
Receiving this year's budget, I felt like a kid at Christmas who was really hoping that Santa would pony up for a Nintendo Wii, and instead discovered some new socks and pajamas under the tree.  You know you need them, but socks and PJs won't entertain you for hours on end. Although this budget didn't introduce anything revolutionary for the Canadian trade community, there are a few stocking stuffers worth mentioning, including changes to Canada's General Preferential Trade Regime and the merging of DFAIT and CIDA. 
Looking Beyond LNG Exports
Strong commercial interest in alternative uses of natural gas creates new opportunities in Canada
The terms "game changer" and "revolution" are typically used to describe the shale gas phenomenon in North America, and rightfully so.  The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or 'fracking') has made the recovery of natural gas from shale economically viable, leading to increased natural gas production, record high storage levels, and overall low prices. Beyond the export of LNG, there is a strong commercial interest in increasing the use of natural gas in the transportation sector.
Staking Out Sensitive Territory in the TPP
With a dozen economies scrambling to put markers on the table, it is unlikely that TPP negotiations will conclude in 2013
For more than a year, TPP partners have been holding their breath in hopes that the world's fifth largest economy would join the negotiations.   Except for its membership in the WTO, Japan has been a reluctant player in regional and bilateral FTA fora. It has held back because of a number of domestic protectionist measures, the most important of which is protection for domestic rice farmers. The prospective value of preferential access to the Japanese market provides TPP negotiators with an excuse to lower the level of ambition and consider exclusions for sensitive sectors, at least during a 10-year phase-in period. As negotiations continue, every member will attempt to carve out the domestic interests it seeks to protect. READ MORE
Isn't that what diplomats are supposed to do?
Just because a company is accused of bad acts abroad, Canadian diplomats cannot adopt a presumption of guilt

In a May 10 OpEd for iPolitics, I questioned the fairness of Miningwatch's criticisms of the Canadian Embassy in Mexico under the watch of Ambassador Guillermo Rychinski and argue that a timid foreign service is the last thing Canadian business needs when it is trying to develop a foothold in emerging markets.

I don't have firsthand knowledge of Blackfire, the Canadian mining company that is alleged to have caused environmental damage in Chiapas, Mexico, bribed local officials and been implicated in the killing of a local activist.  If the allegations are true, Blackfire has made the work of other Canadian companies in foreign markets much more difficult. READ MORE

What's Up?

Border security, pharmaceuticals, labour mobility, export risks, provincial interests


Dawson Strategic's client advisory work closely tracks our public research program. Watch for new DS studies on intellectual property for pharmaceutical products and trade as well as cross-border movement of skilled workers. We also did a webinar on risks and liabilities for Canadian exporters as a preview to a forthcoming EDC guide we helped to produce.


DS has current projects in border security, trade and border facilitation, transportation and state-provincial trade interests. 


With so many terrific opportunities arising, we have expanded our research staff to include Yamily Camacho and moved to a new office at 130 Albert Street with our friends from 3Sixty Public Affairs.


In our advisory work, we help solve to cross-border problems before they become crises by engaging the right players at the right level and finding common interests on both sides. Businesses, if you get jammed up at the border once, call talk radio but if it happens five times, call Dawson Strategic.

Until next time,
Laura and Stefania

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In This Issue
Great Lakes
Budget 2013
LNG Exports
Trans-Pacific Partnership
Did You Know?
market access or cross-border trade question?


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 One of the largest criminal anti-dumping cases in U.S. history involved honey laundering. Dubbed as 'Project Honeygate', the product was imported illegally from China to avoid duties of more than 200%, and some of the honey was even adulterated with antibiotics! The investigation resulted in charges of about $3 million. That's a buzz-kill for anyone contemplating honey smuggling. 






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