Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement have been quick to claim that it is bad for Canada’s future prosperity. What is missing from this predictable denunciation is any understanding of why our country has chosen to negotiate trade agreements—and benefits from them. Canada, with a population of 35.8 million, is a small market, representing just two per cent of the global economy.
We produce more than we consume, which means that our well-being depends upon our ability to trade with countries around the world. Canada’s first comprehensive free trade agreement, with the United States, took effect in 1989. Since then, our country’s GDP per capita has expanded by nearly 150 per cent.
Today, one in five jobs depends, directly or indirectly, on exports. Yet critics warn that global competition is bad for Canada. Trade and productivity are inextricably linked, and together they drive prosperity. Trade deals such as the TPP spur productivity and prosperity by exposing Canadian companies to foreign markets.