101 on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal

A quick primer on who’s involved, why we want in, issues and deadlines.

OTTAWA — Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are coming down to the wire. Here’s a look at the big trade deal.

Who: Canada, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam are all part of the partnership negotiations. South Korea and Taiwan have signalled interest in joining, along with the Philippines.

What: The partnership would be the biggest free-trade deal ever, with its 12 members accounting for almost 40% of the global economy – almost 800 million people.

Why: The negotiations seek to reduce or eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, thereby boosting the economies of the member nations. The talks are also looking to impose strict new rules on environmental protection, working conditions, intellectual property rights and purity of food, drug and other exports.

When: Informal talks opened in 2002. The US joined the negotiations in 2008-09. It was hoped an agreement would be ready by 2012, but that ran into roadblocks.

For: Advocates say the agreement would establish the most ambitious free-trade agreement in the world and spur prosperity for all.

Against: Opponents include organized labour, environmental groups, health advocates, Internet freedom activists and, in Canada, farmers who fear an end to long-standing supply management systems.

Quote: “Canada is committed to deepening our trade ties in the dynamic and fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, while strengthening our traditional partnerships in the Americas.” – the official position from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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