On June 19, 2012 at the G20 summit meeting in Mexico, Canada announced that they would be joining the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations. While this move has raised more than a few eyebrows, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is apparently committed to expanding trade with Asia even if it forces changes to other trade agreements and programs like supply management.
According to an article in the National Post, "it is inconceivable that Mr. Harper will walk away from a seat at the table, given he has staked his future on expanding Canada?s trade in Asia."
Since its inception in 2005, the original four TPP founding members: New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, and Brunei have welcomed the United States, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, and now Canada.
This multilateral free trade agreement is intended to open up trade with smaller countries located in Asia-Pacific and create the world?s largest free trade zone by lowering tariffs on industrial, agricultural, and textile goods.
The article in the National Post goes on to quote Perrin Beatty, President of the Canadian Chamber of commerce as saying "To be more competitive, Canada needs a more ambitious and strategic approach to international trade. Canadian interests in the Asia-Pacific region are growing but we have yet to complete a trade agreement with any Asian countries. The TPP could open important doors for all Canadian businesses," he said from Los Cabos.
While Canada?s membership in the TPP is far from guaranteed, the gloves are about to come off as parties in favor of and against membership in the TTP begin to make their cases.
The TPP is an issue that will be on our radar for some time.
To see how the negotiations develop visit: http://www.ustr.gov/tpp