It is amazing that previously there have been so few legal and institutional arrangements in economic and trade areas of a bilateral nature between Canada and the United states, in view of the massive scale, the density and the nearness of their relationships in these areas, and the importance of two-way trade and investment for each country. The Reciprocity Treaty in the mid-19th century which removed tariffs on cross-border trade in so called "natural products" but not generally manufactured goods was short-lived and contained no provisions for joint institutions of any kind . After its abrogation by the United States in 1866, prompted in part by a resurgence of protectionist pressures in the U.S., no formal trade arrangement between the two countries existed for a period of about 80 years. Under the Roosevelt administration in 1934, the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act led to the bilateral Canada-U.S. trade agreements in 1935 and 1938.
However, the 1938 agreement was suspended when the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was established, as an outcome of the failed Havana Charter and the proposed International Trade Organization.
Since 1948, the GATT has served as the main Canada-U.S. trade agreement, as well as the main trade agreement between each of those two countries and other GATT member countries. The GATT system contains a well-developed institutional elements for continuing consultations among member countries. A very large part of Canada-U.S. trade relations has been managed and somewhat successful within the GATT. Other multilateral institutions such as the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank have similarly served as framework for Canada and the United States to deal with a variety of economic issues of bilateral interest, as well as broader international interest.
At the summit meeting in March 1985, The Quebec Declaration on Trade was made by...