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NEWS: Will Harper seek full membership in the Pacific Alliance trade bloc?

Alianza del Pacifico map

Alianza del Pacifico map

The University of Ottawa’s Carlo Dade argues that the Harper government should seek full membership in the Pacific Alliance trade bloc. In today’s Globe and Mail he writes, “Canada has had great success in completing a series of trade agreements running the length of the Latin American Pacific coast, from Chile through Peru, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica to Mexico. …These countries have recently banded together to form the Pacific Alliance to integrate their economies to better trade with Asia. And the countries of Asia have noticed. The Pacific Alliance has set a blistering pace. It has linked its stock markets into a single bourse, opened joint trade offices abroad and is on track to eliminate visas among its members and implement a common electronic origin certificate by year’s end. …If one wants partners serious about advancing new trade agendas to face Asia, then the Pacific Alliance, not NAFTA, is the preferred club.”

“For Canada, this alliance would also be a crucial alternative to the U.S.-dominated Trans-Pacific Partnership. …The TPP garners attention because of its enormous potential, but since no one has faith that the Americans can deliver, no one wants all of their eggs in the TPP basket, either. Mexico, for one, has already figured this out. The Pacific Alliance is on track to begin negotiating with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a bloc of 600 million people in 10 countries. ASEAN includes Indonesia and Thailand, which are not part of the current TPP round. And more important for Canada, ASEAN doesn’t include the U.S. and New Zealand, two countries that are part of the current TPP round and that have issues with Canada’s dairy industry. China has also stated its desire to open talks with the Pacific Alliance.”

An earlier campaign blog, which highlights that foreign minister John Baird attended the Pacific Alliance leaders summit in Chile this past June, can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=16348. At that summit, Baird stated, “As both a Pacific nation and a country of the Americas, Canada has been following this positive initiative with great interest. Canada already has free trade agreements with all Pacific Alliance member countries and with observer Costa Rica. We are in the process of ratifying another trade agreement with observer Panama. And we welcome the opportunity to explore even deeper trade ties with each of you.”