Book Review: “Auto Pact: Creating a Borderless North American Auto Industry 1960-1971”

Topics: Automotive industry, Federal government of the United States, International trade Pages: 9 (2266 words) Published: October 4, 2014


Book Review: “Auto Pact: Creating a Borderless North American Auto Industry 1960-1971”

Author: Dimitry Anastakis

Book Review

“Auto Pact: Creating a Borderless North American Auto Industry 1960~1971” by “Dimitry Anastakis” examines how the auto industry in US and Canada evolved through time before, during and after the implementation of the auto pact, from its development till the day it was obliterated by the WTO in 2001. The author uses an overwhelming number of sources such as interview, letters, statistics, secondary sources and more to illustrate his points, thus giving an extremely detailed perspective on the development of the auto industry in US and Canada between 1960~1971. The author also cle\arly lays out his plans of discussion in the introduction, and thereby making it easier for the reader to follow his discussion. Anastakis examined all aspects possible, investigating every aspect possible in detail, analysing the arguments for and against the auto pact. In the end Anastakis concludes that the auto pact could be regarded as “one of the most successful trade agreements in history” (171)

Before the implementation of the auto pact, the Canadian economy was shrivelling while that of their neighbours, the Americans thrived. This dramatic deterioration in the Canadian economy was mainly as a result of the auto industry. The Canadian auto industry resembled a “miniature replica of the US market” (25), except less efficient and can be described as devastating for the country’s economy. Canada later introduced the remission plan, to increase investment in the Canadian auto industry, but the US saw this as potentially dangerous to their economy and thus greatly objected to this idea. The auto pact was signed in January of 1965, which requires the US auto firms to achieve certain goals in Canada in order for them to enjoy the benefits of free trade, and results could be seen almost immediately, and export in Canada increased dramatically. However there were also those that opposed to the auto pact, such as Albert Gore (103). But after years of struggle and due to the lack of better ideas, many of the activists soon accepted that the auto pact was possibly the best solution. Tensions between the US and Canadian remained sky-high until after 1971, when a number of factors caused the tensions to lessen, mainly when what could be said as the auto pact reaching its equilibrium, when the “U.S. trade surplus with Canada in automotive products improved significantly after 1972” (168). In 2001, the auto pact had been removed by the WTO, “which declared that the pact violated international trade rules” (183)

The text is extremely well structured, investigating the effects of the events in a chronological order, and relating each event to the next. This makes the text very easy to follow. The order of discussion can clearly be seen in the contents page, as Anastakis highlights the different periods in time when there were drastic effects on or by the auto pact on the Canadian and American economy. Even the title of the chapters clearly highlights the major events and the period in which it occurred, such as chapter is called “The Implementation of the Auto Pact, 1965-1966” (103~123). In this example, before the reader even starts reading the chapter, they will know what to expect and have a clear idea of when it occurred. In addition, as the reader gets further into the text and gets to the later events, the reader can easily refer to certain earlier events simply by looking at the chapter title and find what they wish to refresh on simply by searching within that certain chapter as opposed to the whole book. (contents)

Anastakis had used a great deal of varying sources to support his discussions, and further reinforces his argument. From scholarly journals to government reports to interviews, Anastakis has included almost every single source possible to provide...
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