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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The geography of Canada - United States trade Andresen, Martin Alexander


My dissertation is an empirical analysis of the geography of international trade that is primarily focused on the interregional trade flows within Canada and the United States, but begins with an analysis of international trade flows at the international level to place Canada - United States interregional trade in a global context. Throughout my dissertation empirical methods are not only employed, but extended and developed to address issues with past research. At the international level, I find that globalization defined as an integrated global economy is not present. Rather, international trade flows are intensely regionally focused and the intensity of that focus has not decreased over time. In fact, distance and proximity have become more important in determining trading regions since 1981. At the national level, I find that there was substantial change occurring within the Canada - United States trading relationship prior to the establishment of the Canada - United States Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA). Prior to the establishment of the CUFTA, Canada appeared to be moving into the lower-end of product quality trade relative to the United States. However, since the establishment of the CUFTA that pattern has reversed. Now, Canada appears to be moving into higher-end product quality trade with the United States. This is altering the spatial division of quality-based production in North America. And at the regional level, Canada - United States interregional trade flows have altered their spatial configuration since the establishment of free trade. Prior to the establishment of the free trade agreements, the Canadian provinces were overwhelmingly focused on interprovincial trade. However, with the removal of trade barriers to the U.S. states, Canadian provinces are now trading significantly more with the southern neighbours. The levels of interprovincial trade remain high, but the shares of provincial trade to and from the United States are now increasing.

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