On 2 January 1988, Canada and the United States signed what was then the most comprehensive free-trade agreement that the world has seen. Decision at Midnight is the story of the FTA negotiaions themselves, the preparations for and conduct of those negotiations and the ideas and issues behind them. From their unique perspective as participants, Hart, Dymond, and Robertson capture the drama and the personalities involved in the long struggle to make a free-trade deal. They describe the extensive consultations, the turf-fighting among insiders, the innate caution of both politicians and bureaucrats, and the need to cultivate powerful constituencies in order to overcome the inertia of conventional wisdom.
Althought they tell the story from a Canadian perspective, the authors also include their perception of what was taking place in the United States and the wider world to create the circumstances that would make the negotiations desirable, possible, and ultimately successful. Throughout, they skilfully mix personalities, events, and issues to provide a compelling narrative and convincing analysis.