Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Canada should seize the opportunity

Opinion letter by Yves-Thomas Dorval, President & CEO, Quebec Employers Council

Montreal Gazette, p. web – June 29, 2015

The Sherbrooke Record, p. 7 – July 22, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which seeks to establish commercial regulations for free trade in Asia, represents 40 per cent of the global economy, has a bearing on 800 million consumers and involves 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Many opportunities are at stake for several sectors, ranging from the elimination of tariffs on exports and the protection of intellectual property rights, to the implementation of protective measures against discriminatory regulations and the removal of restrictions to the free movement of people or investment.

The TPP offers the potential to increase our exports through the elimination of tariffs in such areas as agri-food products, natural gas, chemical products, metals and minerals, textiles, machinery, automobile products and aeronautics.

If Canada isn’t part of the TPP, we could be in a situation where American exporters and competitors from other countries would enjoy a competitive advantage over their Canadian counterparts, because of easier access to the markets targeted by the TPP.

In the wake of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union and considering the special relationship Canada has with the United States, the implementation of an agreement in conjunction with the TPP would put the country in an outstanding position, from East to West, with special access to markets that include 1.3 billion people representing two-thirds of the global economy.

Look at our neighbours to the south. Despite a largely hostile Congress, President Barack Obama finds a way to move the negotiations forward on the TPP’s trade agreements. Independently of what occurs in the United States, from our side of the border, we must avoid a situation whereby Canada is content to watch the parade go by and fails to seize this strategic opportunity that is transpiring for the country.

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