There is a thought provoking article in the Financial Post by Dr. Andrew Lilico, who is executive director and principal of Europe Economics, a fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs, and chairman of the IEA/Sunday Times Monetary Policy Committee, that proposes a revised, economic Anglosphere: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This free trade area would, the Financial Post says:
Be composed of countries that share similar cultures, values and incomes ~ “in 2014, the U.K. had a GDP per capita of about US$46,000, versus US$44,000 for New Zealand, US$50,000 for Canada and Australia a little higher at US$62,000:”
“At US$6.5 trillion in combined GDP, the CANZUK countries would constitute the fourth-largest group in the world,” the Financial Post reports, “behind the U.S., EU and China. At nearly two-thirds the combined GDP of China, no one could deny that a CANZUK economic grouping would be economically significant. Total global trade of these four countries would be worth more than US$3.5 trillion, versus around US$4.8 trillion for the U.S., US$4.2 trillion for China, or US$1.7 trillion for Japan. These are big numbers by global standards.“
“But,” the FP asks, “would it be worth it in other terms, such as trade or defence? Well,” it says, “in brute terms these four countries would obviously constitute a big global player. Between them they would control a surface area of more than 18 million square kilometres, the largest in the world, exceeding even Russia’s 17 million. Their combined population, at 128 million, would be the world’s 10th largest, just ahead of Japan. Their combined military spending of around US$110 billion would be the world’s third largest, behind the U.S. and China but well ahead of Russia.” Clearly a Canada-Australia-New Zealand-United Kingdom grouping makes cultural, political, economic and even military sense. It would make even more sense if it included, in a free trade “area” and in a loose military grouping, those four plus India and Singapore and possibly Malaysia, too.
The secret to making it work lies in two sets of deals:
- A Canada-UK free trade deal, which has been discussed before, more than once, and concomitant Australia-UK and NZ-UK free trade deals; and
- Ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership which must form the basis for an Australia-Canada-New Zealand free trade deal.
Both initiatives lie within the area of responsibility of our less than stellar trade minister Chrystia Freeland, who is a genuine celebrity but not, in my estimation, ready for the portfolio she has been assigned. But Canadian officials, in the trade department and in PCO, need to pick up this initiative and push it towards fruition. The keystone in a free trade area, several of them, perhaps, welded together … other aspects, like defence planning and international cooperation either already exist or will follow, more or less naturally.
The military-related issues raised by Dr Lilico are fascinating but it must be understood that organizations involving the four countries plus the USA already exist and work well … once again the challenge is to expand them, somewhat, to include India and Singapore, at least, without, ever, getting too formal.