The United States is preparing for an Asian century, and its trade policy is following suit. Officials hope that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement soon to include Japan, will help solidify their economic role in Asia.
North America's dramatic emergence over the past generation as the world's principal supplier of food can be illustrated with a half dozen numbers. During the late 1930s, three of the world's seven major geographic regions supplied virtually all of the grain moving into the world market. Latin America, with exports of nine million metric tons yearly, was the leading food exporter, and grain exports were an important source of foreign exchange earnings. North America and Eastern Europe (including the Soviet Union) were each exporting five million tons yearly. Most of the grain exported from these three regions, principally wheat and corn, went to Western Europe.
Relations between Canada and the United States have become more strained than at any time in recent memory. There have been many earlier periods of tension, but the policy orientations of the two capitals in late 1981 appear to be far more divergent than in the past. The two governments seem to be on a collision course, in a context that political leaders cannot fully control.