The Tyee – Shell Game: Why Canada’s in Trans Pacific Partnership Talks
Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama formally extended an invitation to Canada to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, a proposed trade deal that includes the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam (Mexico was also added last week). Supporters have lauded the TPP as potentially the world’s most important trade pact and the Canadian government spent months crossing the globe to lobby for an invitation.
Yet dig beneath the heady promises and the benefits for Canada are hard to identify. The price of admission was very steep. Canada appears to have agreed to conditions that grant it second-tier status (see Scott Sinclair’s piece on TPP also today on The Tyee.) And the economic benefits from improved access to TPP economies are likely to be relatively minor since we already have free trade agreements with four of the ten participants.
Given those conditions, why aggressively pursue entry into the negotiations? The reason stems less from gaining barrier-free access to a handful of relatively small economies and far more about using the TPP as a backdoor mechanism to promote regulatory changes in Canada.
All this for one per cent of exports? ….