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Globalization, Integration, and Cross-Border Relations in the Metropolitan Area of Detroit (USA) and Windsor (Canada).

IJED, Vol. 2 No. 3, (2000)

Focusing on one aspect of international relations, cross-border relations this paper examines the Ontario-Michigan border region at Detroit. It addresses the following question:Is there a history of trade relations that leads to functional interdependencies? Does free trade, particularly since the Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement, lead, by a process of functional interdependency, to greater cross-border linkages? Moreover, do politics and institutions mediate this process and if so how?
The findings in this paper suggest that since inception the Canadian-American border region at Detroit has developed from functional interdependencies. It is argued, however, that the free trade environment leads local actors to develop resolute economic development strategies. As central and provincial/state levels of government download policy areas, constraints are greater for local level governments. Central states lose influence but rely on competition to limit the policy choices of local government. Co-operative mechanisms, whether formal or informal, tend to give in to market competition, thus limiting the mediation of free trade by politics and institutions.

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