Mexican President Felipe Calderon (bottom L), British Prime Minister David Cameron (top L) and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper chat before posing for a picture in Los Cabos June 18, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/EDGARD GARRIDO
"People think that when the economy comes back it's going to be business as usual," said Fen Hampson, international affairs professor and director of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa. "But the US is not a growth market for Canada. We need a much more aggressive strategy for moving into new markets in Asia, Africa and Latin America."
The report was presented to the prime minister Tuesday.
Breaking into those markets won't be easy, Hampson said, and the report makes recommendations on how Canada should better position itself for more advantageous negotiations.
"We need to be linking access to investment to better trade deals," he said. "Canada hasn't been able to close a single deal with Asia, but we want to trade with them and they want to invest here."
Hampson said Canada needs to take a "tough love" approach to negotiations and should re-jig current foreign-investment processes to allow it more leverage when designing deals.
"If we don't start negotiating deals that are in the Canadian interest, Asia is going to have our lunch and eat it too," Hampson said. "There's room for quid-pro-quo here that isn't being exploited."