The challenges, the rewards, and the painful effects of globalization are
now familiar to everyone, as companies, cities, regions, industrial sectors, and
entire economies are deeply affected by the forces transforming the international market. With this Special Issue, Quebec Studies examines the impact
of these forces on Quebec, with special attention to Quebecâ€™s place in the
We are fairly comfortable with the mental map of a world in which
North America, western Europe, and Japan provide the engines of economic
growth in the world market. How will we adjust in a few years when we will
be forced to change this mental map, to add other players to this so-called
Triad of economic engines, nations such as Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia ...and
Mexico? According to many estimates of analysts of world development,
including those by the World Bank, the year 2000 will see the east Asian rim
and many nations of Latin America approach the ranks of the established
The current debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) illustrates the type of apprehension which such global changes will
continue to provoke. The NAFTA, under the scrutiny of the U.S. Congress as
this issue goes to press, has already been approved by Canada, with strong
Quebec Government endorsement, and Mexico. Major issues in Quebec and
the U.S. have been the fear of a flight of companies toward the cheaper labor
of Mexico, sudden surges of imports from our southern neighbor into our markets, and a degradation of the already serious environmental conditions on
the Mexican4J.S. border. These three concerns were addressed by the parallel
agreements signed by the three nations and made public in September 1993.
But the deepening ties between the U.S. and the Mexican economies has
been under way for more than two decades, having accelerated with the market-oriented and democratic reforms of President Salinas in the late 1980s.
Quebec so far has been affected verv little bv these changes in Mexico; this
Will probably change in the future, especially if the U.S.Congress approves
We are fortunate to have contributors to this Special Issue who have
asked the difficult questions concerning trends and forces changing the way in
which Quebec may function in the continental economy of the future.
I would like to thank Carson Gregory and Brigid Landler for their help
(and good humor) in preparing this issue.