OTTAWA – Ministers from 12 countries negotiating the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) announced that they were unable to reach an agreement today. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was expected to call an election Sunday or Monday while boasting of the success of the undisclosed agreement. The Council of Canadians has warned against the destructive effects of a potential deal.
“This is a victory for those fighting against the TPP,” says Sujata Dey, Trade Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “The nightmarish details will not be revealed for a long time, but from what little we do know from Wikileaks, we see that it involves a corporate takeover of the public good. This stall in talks could mean the death of the deal, and a win for the public interest all over the world.”
There is widespread speculation that the deal will not be adopted. Public Citizen, a well-connected U.S. citizens’ group that regularly lobbies on Capitol Hill, says it will be next to impossible for the TPP to pass Congress before President Obama’s term expires, even if a deal had been concluded today.
So far, chapters of the agreement have been revealed only through Wikileaks. Some MPs have not had access to the deal, and advisors who have received the required clearance face jail terms if they reveal details of the agreement.
Unifor, a major private sector union, just released a report calling Harper one of the worst economic managers since World War II. The report, titled Rhetoric and Reality: Evaluating Canada’s Economic Record Under the Harper Government, says: “Since its election in 2006, Canada’s exports have hardly grown at all, at an average rate of just 0.3% per year. That’s by far the worst in post-war history, and Canada now experiences large annual trade deficits (since our imports grew much faster than our exports). Nurturing Canadian skills, value-added industries and globally successful companies is the key to higher exports – not just signing more corporate-friendly trade deals.”
“Under free trade deals, Canadian exports have not grown. The TPP would have been just another of the Harper government’s terrible economic legacies,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Luckily, the deal was not concluded in Maui. With a federal election imminent, Canadians can choose another direction.”