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Trump vows not to sign TPP, but it’s not over yet

Free trade spin

Ottawa – President-elect Donald Trump has now indicated that on “day one” of his presidency the United States will withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the Council of Canadians warns other so-called free trade agreements could take its place.

“It is our hope that the TPP has been derailed,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “The deal would have meant job losses in all TPP countries, a worsening of income inequality, and greater power for transnational corporations through the TPP’s investor-state dispute settlement provision. But the drive for similar corporate rights agreements is strong and this isn’t the end of that dangerous agenda.”

Just hours before Trump’s announcement, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned that the TPP would be “meaningless” without the United States and that other TPP countries had not discussed how to move forward with the agreement without the U.S. No other country at the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru was ready to walk away from the agreement at that point.

Among the various agreements the Canadian government could pivot to in the Asia-Pacific are:

  • the proposed Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Canada-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA);
  • the 16-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would include seven of the twelve TPP signatories;
  • the 21-country Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which includes all twelve TPP countries; and
  • the 50-country Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), which includes eight of the twelve TPP countries.

Barlow is currently on a five-city tour with Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff to talk about concerns about the TPP. They will be in Vancouver today and in Winnipeg tomorrow. The Council of Canadians has outlined its concerns about the TPP in its brief to the House of Commons Committee on International Trade.