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Canada needs to join Trans-Pacific Partnership

Canada needs a seat at the Trans-Pacific Partnership talk because a pact could account for nearly half of the world’s output, says a C.D. Howe Institute report.


February 9, 2012
by PLANT STAFF

TORONTO: Canada needs a seat at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks because a pact could account for nearly 40% of the world’s trade, says a C.D. Howe Institute report.

“Membership would position Canada to build trade ties with Asia’s rising economic powers, whose double-digit growth rates far outshine those in the West,” notes trade expert Laura Dawson , president of Dawson Strategic and a member C.D. Howe’s international economic advisory council. “Canada is coming late to the talks. The question now is whether Canada can join the action.”

She says the TPP could expand to include all of APEC, even China; a grouping representing 54% of global GDP. Joining the negotiations now rather than when it’s a done deal will allow Canada to take advantage of the early business expansion that comes with new trade pacts.

But she cautions Canada will encounter some obstacles. It had a chance in 2005 to join the group, but chose not to. Prospective partners will now judge Canada’s suitability to join negotiations already in progress and among those is New Zealand, which opposes Canada’s dairy supply management regime. In a 2010 review, US officials declined to support Canada’s case for entry.

The report argues positive support from the US could override objections by others, but Canada needs to play its cards better by emphasizing that Canada and the US have common interests in these talks, and both would benefit from a strong agreement.

She recommends reminding Congressional leaders of Canada-US alignment on key issues such as standards, investment and labour, and emphasizing continued progress on Canada-US economic cooperation.

The C.D. Howe Institute is a Toronto-based national economic think tank.

Click here for the report, Can Canada Join the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Why just wanting it is not enough.