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Clock is ticking on Canada’s inclusion in Trans-Pacific Partnership: CME

Published by Stephanie Brooks on June 15, 2012

Next week’s G20 summit in Los Cabos presents a prime opportunity to announce the inclusion of all three North American countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. With the host country expecting an invitation to the partnership, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) believes the meeting is an ideal platform for the US to state its support for Canada to be included now, rather than at a later stage. 

More than seven months after stating its intention to join TPP, Canada remains on the sidelines of the intensifying talks with its North American counterparts. 

“For Canada to remain on the sidelines while the talks continue to move forward would be a major setback undermining North American manufacturing competitiveness,” says CME’s Vice President of Global Business Policy, Jean-Michel Laurin. “However, we are quite confident in spite of media stories to the contrary, Canada will soon be invited to join TPP." 

The Canadian government has shown it meets the three criteria to enter TPP, including the ability to join the negotiations without slowing the pace, meeting the high level of ambition pursued in the trade talks, and being willing to address the bilateral trade issues raised in the context of TPP.

Since Canada announced its interest in joining TPP, Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, has visited almost every country involved in the negotiations and had constructive discussions with his counterparts in all TPP countries. 

Over the last seven months CME has led a group of 40 associations representing exporters in the agri-food, energy, manufacturing and services sectors expressing their support for Canada to join TPP. CME has also been engaging its members and association partners in advocating for Canada’s inclusion in the negotiations with TPP members, focusing on the US Administration and Congress. 

“With TPP to set the standard for international trade negotiations in the future,” says Laurin, “Canada’s immediate inclusion is integral. Our exporters cannot be excluded from more open trade while our major manufacturing supply chain trading partner, the US, negotiates a deal.”

For manufacturers with integrated cross-border supply chains to benefit from the main vehicle for further trade liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region, Canada needs to be at the table as soon as possible to ensure their interests are reflected in the final outcome.

“Inviting Canada to join the negotiations at this stage will improve our ability to meet the level of ambition sought in TPP,” says Laurin. “The more we are able to pursue our offensive interests in the negotiations and shape the agreement, the more we will be able to deal with issues raised by other trading partners.” 

Since the implementation of the Canada-US free trade agreement, for which we'll soon celebrate the 25th anniversary, trade has united our economies and strengthened our economic competitiveness. As such, CME believes the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the US should work together to strengthen North American manufacturing integration. 

 

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