Trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne at the APEC trade ministers meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam today.
The Trudeau government has committed to pursuing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), amending the text to allow for the deal to be implemented without the United States, allowing other countries to join the now eleven country trade bloc, and completing this work in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit on November 10-11.
Failing that, news reports suggest the Trudeau government is open recycling TPP provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Mexico.
Bloomberg quotes Trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne commenting today that, “Canada’s always been clear: we will look at whatever options would be to the net benefit of Canadians and Canadian workers.”
That assertion runs directly contrary to a Tufts University study found that the TPP would cost Canada 58,000 jobs and increase income inequality.
The Trudeau government also appears intent to ignore public opposition to this deal. The Liberal-dominated House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade’s report on TPP ‘consultations’ provides no breakdown of the nearly 50,000 emails it received on this issue, nor does it note that every individual who spoke at their public hearings expressed concern or opposition to the deal. Furthermore, even though Global Affairs received more than 30,000 submissions on this issue, Champagne has not provided a breakdown of those public comments.
Earlier today, the Associated Press reported, “Pacific Rim trade ministers meeting in Vietnam committed [on May 21] to move ahead with the TPP after the United States pulled out. …Since the U.S withdrawal, Japan and New Zealand have been spearheading efforts to revive the deal. In its current form, the TPP requires U.S. participation before it can go into effect. That means the remaining countries would need to change the rules for any deal to go ahead, and it would be significantly smaller without the involvement of the world’s largest economy.”
The Globe and Mail adds, “The trade ministers agreed to launch a process to assess options bring the agreement into force ‘expeditiously, including how to facilitate membership for the original signatories’.” A New Zealand government media release notes, “The Ministers tasked their senior trade officials to engage to take forward the preparation of this assessment. Ministers asked for this work to be completed before they meet in the margins of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting on 10-11 November 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam. The Ministers also underlined their vision for the TPP to expand to include other economies that can accept the high standards of the TPP.”
Agence France-Presse notes, “Trade representatives in Hanoi have said they are ready to tweak the deal to leave room for a US return, pinning hopes on a U-turn in American policy.”
The APEC leaders summit in November will include U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Japan Times notes that officials from TPP countries will also meet in July in Japan in preparation for the November summit.
Yesterday, The Globe and Mail reported, “Ottawa will attempt to move the talks toward an update of NAFTA that would preserve the existing agreement but enhance it to make it more like the TPP… That deal covered the digital economy, which NAFTA does not, and included stronger labour and environmental provisions.” And the CBC highlighted, “TPP language could be recycled [in NAFTA], if everyone’s politically savvy enough not to emphasize where it’s from.”