Canada International Relations – Trade (2015-16)

Written by  //  November 22, 2016  //  Canada, Trade & Tariffs  //  1 Comment

Government of Canada: Canada’s Free Trade Agreements
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
PM Trudeau China visit 2016

Trump’s rejection of TPP could be a gift to Canada
As Donald Trump fine-tunes his isolationist trade agenda, maybe Canadians should be thanking him. He may be about to grant Canada a four-year window to build crucial overseas market share while the United States cedes ground on the international playing field.
In a video released Monday, the U.S. president-elect indicated that on “Day One” of his administration he will pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal concluded earlier this year among 12 Pacific Rim countries (including Canada and the U.S.) but not yet ratified by U.S. Congress.
11 November
TPP seen as doomed after Trump victory
The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal – that would have created the world’s largest free-trade zone – is all but dead, now that the Obama administration has given up hope of a last-ditch effort to ratify it amid a rising tide of protectionism.
A former senior adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling on Canada to shift focus and try to negotiate free-trade deals with Japan and other Asian countries.
(Globe & Mail) The Canadian government declined to comment on the fate of the TPP Friday, with a spokesman for International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland saying the Liberals will continue to seek the opinions of Canadians on the deal.
The pact, however, will mean little for the 11 countries that negotiated it without the participation of the largest economy: the United States.
Roland Paris, former top foreign-policy adviser to Mr. Trudeau, urged Canada to “pursue Plan B,” which he said should be trade deals with Japan and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Canada and Japan had already conducted seven rounds of free-trade negotiations before TPP talks escalated and took precedence in 2015. All 12 negotiating parties had concluded a TPP agreement in October of 2015 but each country was required to ratify the deal afterward.
Japan was always the big prize for Canada in the TPP deal. The accord would have given Canadian producers far better access to Japan’s traditionally sheltered market – for beef, pork, fish, canola, barley and other products. However, it would also have eliminated tariffs on Japanese vehicles and made it easier for North American auto makers to use offshore parts.
“I would think Japan will now be looking for alternate strategies,” Mr. Paris said. Japan’s House of Representatives this week voted to ratify TPP.
Canada already has free-trade deals with a significant portion of would-be TPP member economies, including the U.S., Mexico and Chile. Joining the TPP was largely a defensive move for Canada because it promised to give other countries the privileged access to the U.S. that Canadian businesses have enjoyed for decades.
9 November
NAFTA Could Be Replaced By U.S.-Canada Deal Under Trump: CIBC
(HuffPost) And while that would put a huge question mark over Mexico’s future, it could actually be partly good news for Canada, economists Avery Shenfeld and Royce Mendes wrote in a client note Wednesday morning.
“Canada and the U.S. could revert to a bilateral free trade arrangement that excludes Mexico,” they wrote, referring to the U.S.-Canada trade agreement that existed before NAFTA was ratified in 1994.
“That might help Canada reap market share stateside, but there are also risks that protectionist sentiments could extend to restrictions on some Canadian shipments to the U.S., given the political tide in that direction.”
They noted that Trump is largely concerned about competition from “low cost producers like China and Mexico,” giving Canada an opening to maintain free trade with the U.S. if Trump goes ahead with his protectionist agenda.
30 October
ceta-trudeau-and-freeland‘Hard things are hard’: Trudeau downplays delay in signing EU trade deal
PM links signing of wide-ranging trade agreement with ‘more inclusive and more progressive’ economic growth
(CBC) International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland couldn’t contain herself any longer.
“We did it!” she said, hugging colleagues after posing behind the massive, foot-high legal document Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Union leaders had just signed.
Canada’s trade agreement with the 28 member states of the European Union can now proceed for ratification.
EU sent ‘wrong signal’ on trade during CETA talks, says German ambassador
Sunday’s signing brings to a conclusion two weeks of high drama, after the southern, French-speaking Belgian region of Wallonia refused to approve signing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, also known as CETA, at a Canada-Europe summit originally planned for last Thursday.
28 October
Trudeau heading to Brussels to sign CETA; fate of key section still in doubt
Justin Trudeau is heading to Brussels this weekend to sign the massive Canada-European Union free trade deal after the EU finally approved it on Friday, but the fate of the accord’s most contentious chapter – a court where businesses can sue governments – remains in serious doubt and may not be resolved for years.
The European Council, representing all 28 member-state governments, reached the necessary consensus on Friday to approve the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada, a deal seven years in the making that would be the EU’s first such treaty with a major Group of Seven industrialized country.
(CBC) Trudeau takes off to sign EU trade deal, but skies ahead aren’t clear – After the signing comes ratification and implementation processes, in Canada and 28 EU member countries
27 October
After much cliff-hanging!
Belgium breaks deadlock over EU-Canada trade pact
(Reuters) Belgium’s regions agreed to a free trade pact with Canada on Thursday, ending weeks of uncertainty when internal divisions in just one country blocked the European Union of 500 million people sealing the landmark deal.
Prime Minister Charles Michel said the regions and linguistic communities had drafted a four-page addendum to the pact that answered their concerns.
The text addresses fears that a system to protect foreign investors could let multinationals block new rules on the environment, labor rights or public services – specifying that the “investment protection” regime would not come into force during an initial period. It also has a safeguard clause to protect agriculture in the event of a “market imbalance”.
“As a unilateral Belgian declaration, Canada’s approval will not be sought or needed,” a source close to the talks said.
A top EU official gave the Belgian agreement to the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) a cautious welcome.
“Only once all procedures are finalised for EU signing CETA, will I contact (Canadian) PM @JustinTrudeau,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted.
Belgium’s regional governments have been given until the end of Friday to consult their parliaments if needed and ambassadors from other EU countries will also review the addendum.
Colin Robertson: With CETA and TPP in limbo, here’s how Canada can give trade a practical boost
With our big trade-policy initiatives – the Canada-EU trade deal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership – in limbo, Canada’s leaders need to turn their attention to trade promotion.
Canada lives by trade. It represents 60 per cent of our GDP. One in five jobs is linked to trade. There are more than a million small- and medium-sized enterprises operating in Canada. A 2013 survey concluded that only 41,000 were exporting. We can do better.
We need a trade strategy that has the support of the provinces and regional leadership. International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland should turn her considerable skills to achieving consensus on a new trade plan and then deliver it through a re-energized Trade Commissioner Service.
The Harper government’s Global Markets Action Plan is a good starting point. It established priority markets that also integrated the services of Export Development Canada, Canadian Commercial Corporation and the BDC.
Ms. Freeland needs to achieve buy-in from the provinces and our cities.
Why trade deals like CETA have become a ‘whipping boy’ for anti-globalization forces
Wallonia in Belgium the lone holdout in the Canada-EU trade pact
Globalization has always had its critics — there’s nothing new there, says Fen Hampson, professor of international affairs at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.
But given the problems Europe is experiencing now, with high levels of unemployment, particularly among youth, it’s not surprising that free trade deals like the Canada-EU CETA have become “a whipping boy for very unhappy people who are out of work,” Hampson said.
French Belgium an anti-trade powerhouse: Don Pittis
21 October
End of CETA, end of European trade deals
By failing to ratify CETA, Europe shows it can no longer do trade deals. Canada and the rest of the world will suffer as a result
By Patrick Leblond, Senior Fellow at CIGI and the CN – Paul M. Tellier Chair on Business and Public Policy in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.
(Open Canada) Seven years of intense negotiations are now highly likely to go down the drain. Canada’s future economic growth prospects will be diminished as a result. Canadian firms will lose a great opportunity to gain easier and cheaper access to an economy the size of the United States that is already Canada’s second largest economic partner.
Canadian trade minister walks out of EU trade talks, says deal is ‘impossible’
(Globe & Mail) Talks to salvage the Canada-European Union trade deal fell apart Friday after Canada’s International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland walked out of negotiations in Belgium, saying she feels the 28-member bloc is incapable of reaching a deal with Ottawa.
(Global News/Canadian Press) “Canada has worked, and I personally have worked very hard, but it is now evident to me, evident to Canada, that the European Union is incapable of reaching an agreement,” Freeland said in a statement. “Canada is disappointed and I personally am disappointed, but I think it’s impossible. We are returning home. At least I will see my three children tomorrow at our home.”
17 October
7 questions as Canada-EU trade deal comes down to the wire
European Union’s foreign and trade ministers meet Tuesday to ‘decide on signature’
Last week’s negative votes in Belgium’s Wallonian legislatures set a major hurdle in the path of Canada’s trade deal with the European Union.
But Belgium’s potential constitutional crisis — should it push on with the deal, consider the regional votes non-binding and sign anyway— is not the only unresolved matter, as the European Union’s foreign and trade ministers convene Tuesday morning in Luxembourg.
Their top two agenda items are “decision on signature” and “decision on provisional application” for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.
Canada’s CETA negotiators are still in talks with the European Commission to finalize the text of a joint interpretative declaration that does not alter the negotiated text of CETA, but supplements it with some clarifications on contentious issues.
A five-page draft was circulated in Europe and promptly leaked to the media and civil-society groups on Oct. 5.
13 October
Justin Trudeau says CETA will test European Union’s ‘usefulness’
Visiting French PM Manuel Valls calls Canada ‘key partner’ on fighting terror, climate change
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a blunt warning to European lawmakers today: sign off on a free trade deal with Canada or risk reducing the European Union’s relevance. … “If, in a week or two, we see that Europe is unable to sign a progressive trade agreement with a country like Canada, well then with whom will Europe do business in the years to come?” Trudeau asked in French.
8 October
Minister Morneau Welcomes New Canadian Executive Directors to International Financial Institutions
The Government of Canada is rebuilding its international influence to create shared growth and prosperity at home and abroad. One way it is doing so is by ensuring that Canada continues to be represented by high-quality Executive Directors on the boards of international financial institutions.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau today welcomed the election of three new Canadian Executive Directors to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD):
Nancy Horsman as the new IMF Executive Director for Canada, Ireland, nine Caribbean countries and Belize;
Christine Hogan as the new World Bank Group Executive Director for Canada, Ireland, nine Caribbean countries, Belize and Guyana; and
Doug Nevison as the new EBRD Executive Director for Canada, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan.
5 July
Campbell Clark: Ottawa must prepare for a sprint to finalize EU trade deal
(Globe & Mail) Chrystia Freeland’s blithe assurance that the Canada-EU free trade deal is “absolutely moving forward” even after the Brexit vote seems dangerously careless. This is a summer of uncertainty in the European Union, and Canada’s Trade Minister cannot know the deal – the biggest trade agreement Canada will see for many years – won’t fall apart.
The European Commission – the Brussels bureaucracy – tried to force the wide-ranging deal through an EU-only process that would not include votes by Europe’s national parliaments. They had to be pushed back by national governments that already worry their citizens see Brussels as heavy-handed. Now all 28 EU countries must vote to ratify the deal.
The EU has declared the deal, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, to be a matter of mixed EU and national jurisdiction, but it’s still possible that most of the deal – the matters within EU jurisdiction – would be put into effect “provisionally” before national parliaments vote. Once it is approved by the European Council, which represents national governments, and the European Parliament, 90 or 95 per cent of the agreement could go into effect.
That means parliaments in countries where there are widespread objections, such as Romania or Belgium, can only stop a small portion of CETA, within their own borders. They don’t hold a veto. If one small country wants to stop the whole deal, it needs allies.
2 June
The new China Syndrome
First come the questions … then comes the meltdown
Jonathan Manthorpe
(iPolitics) If nothing else, Wang’s nasty outburst against iPolitics reporter Amanda Connolly over her question at Wednesday’s press conference in Ottawa about civil rights in China has clearly shown what sort of government foreigners must now deal with in Beijing.
You have to hope the nature of Wang’s performance seeped into the consciousness of Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion and the Liberal government. There are signs already that the Liberals are feeling a little queasy about their election campaign promise to boost economic ties with China through — among other things — a free trade pact.
Polls show that Canadians are a good deal more realistic than the Liberals about the implications of closer economic ties with Beijing; they’re apprehensive, in fact. Last year Canada sold just under $20 billion in goods to China — most of it food and natural resources — and bought nearly $66 billion in Chinese product, mostly manufactured goods. A free trade agreement would boost those numbers, but the overall effect would be to increase the trade deficit in China’s favour. …
In Canada, Beijing has made it clear that a free trade deal depends on Ottawa pushing through an oil pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia coast. And if that means Ottawa must override existing planning and environmental assessments, and thumb its nose at what Canadians themselves think about such a project, so be it. You want Beijing’s trade? Adopt Beijing’s values.
In that respect, Wang’s outburst was a good thing. The Liberal government can no longer be under any illusions that the regime it faces in Beijing now has the same attitudes as those it courted in the mid-1990s, or even in the 1970s.
28 April
Colin Robertson: Three lessons to draw from the Saudi arms deal controversy
(Globe & Mail|Subscribers only) First, include an examination of arms-sales policies in the current defence review. These policies need to be scrutinized to restore public confidence.
Second, move on the promised signature of the UN Arms Trade Treaty. This will oblige regular arms-sale reporting. The last of the three Harper government reviews covered the years 2012-13.
Third, publish the human-rights reviews of all countries Canada is currently selling arms to. The U.S. State Department uses their reports to encourage better global governance. We should do the same.
27 April
Ottawa says it is powerless to change the contract to sell armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. That’s odd, considering Ottawa—under both Harper and Trudeau—had, and used, the power to make the deal happen
(Globe & Mail RoB) According to a 2013 report prepared for Ottawa by a panel headed by Tom Jenkins, executive chairman of Waterloo-based Open Text Corp., Canadian defence-industry revenue is almost equally split between domestic and export sales. The sector in 2011 comprised more than 2,000 companies, over 70,000 employees, and an estimated $12.6 billion in annual revenues.
The benefits of the latest Saudi LAV deal will be spread among some 500 companies, according to federal officials. But the names of the subcontractor companies have not been released, and they are not eager to make their identities known. When word got out last year that Brampton, Ontario-based shock-absorber manufacturer General Kinetics was supplying parts for the LAV 6, the company’s owner, Scott Griffin, a celebrated patron of the arts, quickly disassociated himself from his own company. …
[N]ew markets in the Middle East, South and East Asia and South America were projected to grow about 40% between 2009 and 2016. Not surprisingly, many exporters are pivoting toward these markets—especially the Middle East, where the Canadian Commercial Corp., a Crown corporation established to assist defence exporters following the Second World War, energetically seeks new contracts. Alongside Export Development Canada, … CCC has a long track record of stewarding defence deals. ”
ATI documents also show that Ottawa announced the GDLSC deal before satisfying the federal law on exports of lethal weapons. When sales are proposed to countries “whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens,” the government is obligated to obtain assurances that “there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population.”
More than two years after the Saudi deal was signed, there is no sign of whatever assessments Ottawa made of human rights in Saudi Arabia. An ATI request for this article was met only by procedural stalling.
Meanwhile, in February, the European Parliament passed a resolution stating that arms transfers to Saudi Arabia violate European arms regulations, and calling for an EU embargo.
15 April
Justin Trudeau’s Saudi sellout
(iPolitics) On the one hand, Canada’s foreign minister went through the pantomime of principled denunciation in the wake of the mass beheadings. He urged the Kingdom to “protect human rights, respect peaceful expressions of dissent and ensure fairness in judicial proceedings.”
Dion’s director of communications, former State Department strategist Joseph Pickerill, … told journalists that Canada was sticking to the $15 billion arms deal with the Saudis — the world’s largest arms importer, now this country’s second-biggest arms market after the United States. His words implied that there was no real choice in the matter since the previous government of Stephen Harper had inked the deal.
“A private company is delivering the goods according to a signed contract with the government of Saudi Arabia,” Pickerill said. “The government of Canada has no intention of canceling the contract.” …
The hypocrisy was obvious at the time — the hogwash, less so. It has since come to light that all the previous Harper government had done by way of expediting the signed deal was to approve the export of technical data about the armoured vehicles. It was the Trudeau government — specifically, Minister Dion — who granted the export permits, which is where the commercial rubber really hits the road.
One comment on this article pretty well sums it up, Human rights has nothing to do with it and any politician that says otherwise is simply lying. No politician – Liberal, Conservative or Dipper – is going to crucify their party in vote rich and electorally volatile southwestern Ontario where all three parties have seats by canceling this deal. Kyle Matthews’ interview with CTV on Saudi deal
2 February
Canada Will Sign TPP Thursday, but Deal Far from Done
Feds have promised wide consultation. Here’s what should happen next.
(The Tyee) Signing the TPP is a major step forward for the controversial treaty, but questions still abound over whether it will be ratified and take effect.
While the Liberal government has been cautious about expressing its support — International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has been consistent in calling for consultation not conclusions — the decision to sign the TPP was never much in doubt. The agreement contains incentives to be an “original signatory,” since only those countries qualify for the rules related to entry into force of the agreement. To stay on the sidelines at this early stage might have kept Canada out of the TPP for good.
The big question was never whether Canada would sign, but rather what comes next. The TPP will not take effect for at least two years, giving the government ample time to engage in the consultation and study that was largely absent during a negotiation process that was notable primarily for its secrecy. Proponents of the TPP will urge the government to implement quickly, yet there is no advantage to do so and considerable risk that Canada would bear the costs of the agreement without ever realizing the benefits.
Freeland and her parliamentary secretary, David Lametti, have already engaged in more public consultations on the TPP in two months than the Conservative government did during years of negotiations.
25 January
Canada will sign controversial TPP trade deal, but ratification not certain
(National Observer) The federal government has confirmed that it intends to sign the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal at a meeting next week in New Zealand.
But International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday that signing the 12-country treaty doesn’t necessarily mean Canada will ultimately ratify it.
“Just as it is too soon to endorse the TPP, it is also too soon to close the door,” Freeland wrote in an open letter posted on her department’s website.
Open Letter to Canadians on the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade
As Canada’s newly appointed Minister of International Trade, I have spent the last two months talking to Canadians about our potential participation in the Trans‑Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. After attending public town halls, participating in over 70 meetings and round tables, and receiving feedback from thousands of Canadians who have written to me, it is clear that many feel the TPP presents significant opportunities, while others have concerns.
Many Canadians still have not made up their minds and many more still have questions. That is why our consultations with the provinces, municipal officials, students, labour leaders and members, business representatives, academic experts, and others are just the beginning of the examination needed to fully understand the TPP’s impact.
As Parliament returns this week, I will work with my colleagues from all parties to conduct a full and open debate in Parliament, a commitment we made in October’s election. Further, I have written to the Government and Opposition House Leaders as well as the Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade to convey my strong belief in the merits of a robust and transparent examination of the TPP. In particular, this should include extensive, non‑partisan consideration, analysis, and testimony from all regions, sectors, and backgrounds. Most importantly, this process will be fully public.
For Parliament to fully evaluate the merits of the TPP and for consultations to continue, Canada needs to stay at the table with the other TPP countries. That means when the eleven other countries convene to sign the Agreement next week, Canada will attend as well. Not attending would mean withdrawing from the TPP altogether, even before Canadians have had an opportunity to fully debate its implications.
22 January
Justin Trudeau to talk over troubled trade deal with European Parliament head
Trudeau tells reporters in Davos that CETA is ‘an important opportunity both for Canada and Europe’
With a key ratification vote expected late this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Friday that he’s meeting with the head of the European Parliament tomorrow to discuss the Canada-EU trade agreement.
“I’ve had many conversations with European leaders on the importance of signing and ratifying CETA [the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement],” Trudeau said in response to a question from CBC News.
EU quietly asks Canada to rework trade deal’s thorny investment clause
Both sides admit surprise as deal risks losing ratification vote thanks to anti-American sentiment
As with Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), businesses are protected from arbitrary government decision-making. The opportunity for corporations to recover damages aims to force governments to fulfil the trade deals they sign, or be held accountable. … But critics point to how expensive things can get for taxpayers when corporations sue governments for interfering with trade.
20 January
TPP’s Economic Impact Will Be Fewer Jobs, More Inequality, New Study Says
(HuffPost) The Trans-Pacific Partnership meant to create the world’s largest free trade area will cost Canada 58,000 jobs and increase income inequality, says a new U.S. study.
Perhaps more surprisingly, the study found that the two largest economies in the TPP — the U.S. and Japan — would actually shrink as a result of the trade deal, and that the deal would result in fewer jobs overall in all the participating countries.
Ten years after the TPP were to come into force, Canada’s economy would be 0.28 per cent larger than it would have been without it, the study from Tufts University found.
That amounts to an additional $5 billion in economic activity, on an economy worth some $1.8 trillion today. That boost is only slightly more than the $4.3-billion subsidy the Harper government proposed for the dairy industry, to absorb the shock of an open dairy market.
The U.S. economy would be about 0.54 per cent smaller with the TPP, or about US$100 billion smaller. The country would see a net loss of 448,000 jobs due to the agreement.
The study is bound to be controversial, given it contradicts some earlier research that suggested net benefits to employment and economic growth from the TPP.
The Tufts researchers argue that the models used by many other researchers are flawed because they look at changes to foreign trade, but disregard changes in the domestic labour force. These earlier studies assume full employment in their models, and assume there will be no change in the distribution of income, they say.
The Tufts researchers argue the trade deal would increase inequality in one important respect. The amount of income flowing to business owners and shareholders would increase, relatively, while the amount of income flowing to wage earners would shrink, the Tufts study predicts.
Tony Deutsch comments:

This kind of study is difficult  to evaluate without a lot of time devoted to detailed study of method, evidence, and assumptions , which I certainly shall not do. Has been clear in the literature for the last 200 years that lowering tariffs between countries A and B will benefit the consumers in both through lower prices (not captured in GDP calculations) will release resources in industries no longer competitive in each country , (GDP down) and engage resources in the addition of new market access in both countries (GDP up). One crucial question is what we assume about  the reabsorption of the resources released in the process. The last assumption (there cannot be evidence on a hypothetical!) will usually determine the conclusions of the study.  T.

18 January
Seven Ways TPP Favours Mega-rich Foreign Investors, Not Canadians
And why there’s still time for Trudeau to reject it.
By Gus Van Harten
(The Tyee) I offer seven reasons why the TPP’s provisions on foreign investor protection — mostly found in its chapters on investment and financial services — should be rejected. These provisions reveal how the deal carries unacceptable risks for voters and taxpayers in TPP countries, while giving unjustified benefits to big multinationals and the super-wealthy.
1. The TPP would give special protections to foreign investors at significant public cost, without compelling evidence of a public benefit.
Like other trade agreements, the TPP would give foreign investors special rights to protect their assets by suing countries for compensation in the face of laws, regulations and other decisions that the foreign investor thinks are unfair. These potent international rights are not available to domestic investors or anyone else, even in the most extreme situations of mistreatment.
Why should foreign investors have a special global status and, effectively, a generous public subsidy against the economic risks of democracy and regulation that apply to everyone? The onus should be on promoters of the TPP to give compelling evidence of a corresponding benefit of foreign investor protections for the public. To my knowledge, they have not yet done so.
On the other hand, foreign investors have used their powerful rights again and again to attack legitimate laws and policies around the world. Some of the best known cases are the Philip Morris challenge to anti-tobacco regulations in Australia and Uruguay, the Lone Pine Resources challenge to fracking restrictions in Canada, the Ethyl Corp. claim against a ban on a gasoline additive, and the Vattenfall claim against Germany’s nuclear phase-out. With the TPP, more of these claims would become possible, even if the country in question had already won a similar case in the past.
2. When the TPP refers to “foreign investors,” we should understand that to mean large multinationals and the super-wealthy.


9 December
As an academic, Liberal MP critiqued TPP copyright rule he may have to support
(iPolitics) Though overshadowed by the debates about what TPP will or won’t do to the Canadian automotive industry and supply-managed farmers, the former Conservative government’s decision to increase the copyright term of protection by 20 years — from 50 years to 70 years beyond the author’s life — will have, according to some, profound effects on what people pay for things like books, movies, and music, while also limiting their access to them.
As an academic, Lametti argued copyright provisions were already too generous.
“In my view, we need to not only shorten the term of copyright generally, but also to vary the terms of copyright as between different kinds of works according to the context of the right and the resource protected by copyright,” Lametti, who helped found The Centre for Intellectual Property Policy at McGill University’s law school, wrote in a 2005 essay.
2 December
‘Not my job right now to persuade anybody TPP is good’: Chrystia Freeland
(iPolitics) The Liberals’ position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) hasn’t changed, Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday evening at the Canadian-American Business Council’s 21st annual summit in Ottawa: they’re still consulting with stakeholders and haven’t made a decision on ratification.
The agreement that took eight years to negotiate, and which the Harper government only concluded weeks before the federal election, certainly didn’t sound like it would be getting rubber-stamped by the new trade minister.
In fact, when BNN reporter Kristina Partsinevelos, who was moderating a panel Wednesday evening that also included Transport Minister Marc Garneau and American Ambassador Bruce Heyman, asked Freeland how she would convince opponents in the audience, Freeland declined.
“We’re not the government that negotiated this deal. It is an incredibly difficult deal. It’s 6,000 pages and as far as we are concerned, this deal really became available for Canadians to review — Canadian stakeholders — yesterday. That’s when the text became available on our website, because that’s when the French language translation became available.”
29 November
Expect influx of foreign workers, professionals under TPP, experts say
Many regulated professions, including trades, written into deal’s fine print
That influx may or may not be offset by increased opportunities for Canadian workers to move abroad, the experts say.
“I think it’s very facilitative [of workers coming here] for better or for worse,” said Ryan Rosenberg, a Vancouver immigration lawyer.
“It reduces barriers significantly to a wider scope of nations” than previous trade agreements, he said.
Rosenberg said he was surprised by the number of skilled occupations included in the agreement that won’t require employers to perform labour market assessments to prove no Canadians are eligible for the jobs.
18 November
Trudeau goes on charm offensive to tout government’s pro-trade ways at APEC
Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland joined Trudeau at the meetings which included representatives of Canadian banks, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and other groups.
ANALYSIS l G20, APEC economic goals overshadowed by Paris attacks
Trudeau promises closer Canada-China relations
“Please take this gathering as a real sign of the absolute importance that our government is placing on Canada’s business relationships abroad, our real conviction that trade and international trade is a hugely important path to the middle class prosperity, which is a central part of our mandate,” Freeland told the group.
“It’s great when we can create leaders’ dialogues and talk about better collaboration and sign trade deals and partnerships,” Trudeau told the group. “But if we don’t then follow up with investment, with business ties, with job creation and strengthening economic exchanges, we’re not doing the full work that we need.”
6 November
Critics cry foul as new Trans-Pacific Partnership details emerge
Devil is in the details say critics of trade deal’s newly revealed fine print
Newly named trade minister Chrystia Freeland said she will need time to go over all the documents, and encouraged Canadians to do the same. Prime Minister Trudeau has promised “a full and open public debate in Parliament.”
(CBC) Experts and newly seated government officials are combing through the fine print of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement — the full text of which was finally released Thursday, revealing almost two dozen side deals with other countries and provisions that have alarmed some privacy and trade advocates.
Read the full text of the TPP agreement [PDFs]
Trans-Pacific Partnership text has been released
The 6,000-page, 30-chapter document was first released by New Zealand, and includes deals worked out over five years by the TPP members — Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
Personal information at risk?
Among its provisions, the deal looks to make e-commerce easier by protecting “cross-border transfer of information … including personal information,” for business purposes.
Jim Balsillie fears TPP could cost Canada billions and become worst-ever policy move
Businessman says deal contains ‘troubling’ rules on intellectual property
Shhh! Let’s have an international trade meeting and not tell anyone
Canada among the most secretive of Trans-Pacific Partnership countries
(CBC) The ambitious, now 11-nation trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been raising the ire of U.S. senators as well as reporters, lawyers and labour groups all over the world for the exceptionally high level of secrecy surrounding its negotiation.
But is it possible Canada is raising that bar even higher still?
A case in point was the three-day negotiating session of the TPP that was held in Vancouver recently. And which the federal government had no intention of even mentioning until it was leaked, after the fact, by news media in Peru. (21 June 2013)
7 October
David Parkinson, Economics reporter: Mulcair’s anti-TPP stance is a losing battle
(Globe & Mail subscribers only) … conventional wisdom is that this could put Mr. Mulcair back in the game. It gives him much-needed separation from his opponents on a highly visible economic issue for the first time in this election, making him a choice again for left-leaning voters, rural Canadians, auto workers and anyone else who has a problem with the proposed terms of the TPP.
But where it really positions him is in the wilderness. The political battle over free trade was already fought and won, long ago – and it wasn’t by the forces opposing these deals.
… the reality of free trade has turned it from economic bogeyman to standard policy practice. Voters are used to it, they’re comfortable with it and they’re generally just fine with it. They understand the necessity of access to foreign markets to drive our decidedly export-dependent country. They see two decades of relative strength and prosperity for the Canadian economy. They see the consumer benefits from ready accessibility to low-cost imports. Liberalized trade has become a national habit.
5 October
Doug Saunders: Long gone are the days when trade topped Canada’s election issues
Of course, the free-trade world has proved to be a lot less about unrestrained market forces than free-trade opponents had feared or supporters had hoped. Governments still hand piles of money to local companies simply because they’re local. Agencies are still allowed to choose suppliers because they’re local rather than because they’re the best (such as the Buy America Act or the Ontario Green Energy Act). Countries keep restricting trade where they want (the TPP won’t let Canada get rid of the agricultural industry’s supply management protections).
Twenty-seven years after free trade defined an election, most people, beyond a few enthusiasts on either side, see a world that hasn’t changed much – and isn’t worth voting over.
Why the TPP is such a big—and good—deal for Canada
Yes, there will be costs. But on average, we can expect TPP trade liberalization to deliver higher productivity, higher GDP, and higher incomes to Canadians
(Maclean’s) Let me start by saying what is not part of the TPP. There will no doubt be many misleading claims over the coming weeks about this deal, and it is useful to head them off right from the start.
It won’t lead to the privatization of crown corporations like Canada Post or Via Rail. It won’t undermine the ability of the Canadian government to subsidize Canadian cultural industries. In fact, the CBC and Telefilm Canada are specifically exempt from the provisions governing State-Owned Enterprises.
The TPP also won’t constrain governments from tackling environmental challenges. This point deserves more attention. Naomi Klein recently claims that TPP will limit the ability of countries to take action on climate change. This is just silly. Carbon taxes are in no way a violation of anything in the TPP deal. Similar charges are levelled against NAFTA, overlooking the fact that B.C. has a carbon tax which doesn’t violate anything. B.C.’s approach is perhaps the world’s best example of good environmental policy that we should all think carefully about—and one that (hopefully) Alberta will adopt very soon (though again, a topic for another day). TPP does nothing to prevent this.
Finally, one will also no doubt hear that TPP will increase drug costs. This is false, but there was indeed the potential that this could have been true.
Related: Maclean’s in-depth primer on the TPP, one of many election issues
3 October
TPP negotiations enter ‘take it or leave it’ phase
A day of decision lies ahead for international trade talks as 12 countries must determine Sunday whether to tune out nagging individual worries in order to create the world’s largest trade zone.
Ministerial meetings in Atlanta have dragged on three days longer than scheduled and it appears this might be the make-or-break moment for concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership here, and now, before the Canadian election.
A few final irritants have pushed negotiations into the take-it-or-leave-it phase, after which some ministers have a G20 meeting in Turkey including Japan’s envoy who has made it clear he’s gone after Sunday.
The final issues include an important feud over how to regulate next-generation pharmaceuticals. On that issue, Canada is essentially a neutral bystander. But it’s a full-fledged disputant in another final-hour tussle, this one involving a more traditional industry – dairy – and how much of it to accept in imports.
Harper pledges transparency on TPP while Mulcair says talks have been ‘secret’
Harper would present it to Parliament, Mulcair vows to ‘rip up’ a deal that harms family farmers
The trade deal, which Harper has repeatedly billed on the campaign trail as the largest in Canadian history if it’s passed, will create “thousands of jobs” and open more markets to Canadian goods, he said.

There was speculation among political observers late this week and Saturday morning that Harper was going to reveal at his Montreal news conference that a deal had been finalized. However, multiple sources, including influential U.S. trade journals, reported Saturday afternoon that negotiators are not expected to conclude talks today.
NDP government would not adhere to a TPP deal, Mulcair says in letter
Mr. Mulcair laid out his reasons in a letter to International Trade Minister Ed Fast, the Conservative government’s point man on the TPP talks, listing a slew of reasons why he’s distancing himself from the agreement, including the expected pain it will bring to Canadian dairy farmers and smaller auto parts makers. “Your government forfeited a mandate to conclude negotiations on a major international trade agreement the day the election was called,” he writes.
The letter also throws into question what would happen should the Conservatives lose power in the Oct. 19 election. “As you participate in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations this week in Atlanta, I wish to advise you that an NDP government will not consider itself bound to any agreement signed by your Conservative government during this federal election,” Mr. Mulcair says.
29 September
Exploring the legal system that lets corporations sue governments
(CIGI) Should bilateral and regional trade agreements allow foreign investors to sue governments? Could this result in regulatory chill or special privileges to outside interests? In recent months, TIPP, TPP and CETA have brought to light the controversial issue of investor-state arbitration (ISA), an international public law instrument. Just last week, ISA was the focus of a CIGI-led gathering of international arbitration and investment experts who discussed if the policy is needed between developed democracies. CIGI Senior Fellow Armand de Mestral sheds light in an recent op-ed and new paper series on the importance of understanding ISA and what it might mean for the future of public policy.
26 September
TransPacific Partnership Talks Resume In Atlanta
Negotiations on the TransPacific Partnership, a massive free-trade proposal involving Canada and 11 other nations, will resume in Atlanta, Georgia today.
Chief negotiators from the 12 countries, which have a combined population of 800 million people, will hold sessions through to Tuesday. And those meetings will set the stage for further talks involving TPP trade ministers on Wednesday, Sept., 29 and Thursday, Oct., 30.
Canada’s supply management system has been a significant sore point in the ongoing negotiations.
7 August
Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership draft would force Canada to rework copyright, critics say
Terms might even require internet providers to block access to certain websites, law professor warns
The text posted online includes terms that would require countries to criminalize certain types of copyright infringement and to force internet service providers and search engines to take down alleged copyright-violating material or even links to it.

6 August
From Our Chief Economist –The TPP is dead
(The Economist) The latest talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) did not end well and election timetables in Canada and the US mean that the prospect of a deal being ratified before the end of 2016 (at the earliest) is remote.
1 August
Pacific Trade Deal Elusive in Hawaii; Amari Sees More Talks
(Bloomberg) Ed Fast, Canada’s trade minister, said at the talks that Canada would be “constructive” over TPP in the weeks ahead. Harper is likely to call new elections this week, raising doubts about whether Canada would be in a position to reach a deal after Maui.
Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, predicted a deal would come together in August as Harper faced pressure from the U.S. and Japan, who are keen to close the talks.
“If Canada walks away from TPP, or is pushed out over dairy, Harper will be pilloried as the prime minister who degraded Canada’s status in world economic affairs,” Hufbauer said in an e-mail.
Trans-Pacific talks fail, weakening Conservative hopes as election looms
Sources familiar with the talks said nations were too far apart on dairy and autos – lowering tariffs on Japanese imports – and developing countries such as Peru and Chile were reluctant to grant significantly more copyright protection to “biologics,” or biological products used to treat diseases.
Canada came under heavy pressure to significantly open its protected dairy market to more foreign imports and was blamed at times for acting as a laggard — a stance that prevented a chain reaction of concessions from other parties from happening.
31 July
TPP deal not reached in Hawaii; federal campaign looms
… raising the likelihood Canada’s Conservative government may find itself negotiating this controversial accord while on the campaign trail. …
After the writ is dropped, the party in power has a caretaker responsibility to manage the affairs of Canada but whether the Conservatives have a legitimate mandate to negotiate concessions that would bind a future government is another question.
Dairy farmers at a free-trade crossroads in an industry facing instability
(Globe & MIL) … industry officials acknowledge that all is not well within the supply-management system, and that major reform is essential. Various industry players, including provincial marketing boards and major dairy processors, such as Saputo Inc., have begun negotiations aimed at “modernizing” the system. Modernization seems innocuous, even hopeful. But supply management was facing an existential crisis long before the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the European free-trade deal came along.
30 July
TPP talks could slow due to Canada’s dairy hardball, says New Zealand envoy
Conservative government hopes to sign deal before election campaign expected to start Sunday
Other parties around the bargaining table are growing exasperated with Canada for stonewalling their demands to pry open its dairy market as part of a major global free-trade deal. … protectionist stances by Canada and Japan on dairy-market access remain rigid and could even prevent the pact from being signed this week … Supporters of the agreement say it would give Canada access to enticing markets in Asia and, in particular, Japan — the planet’s third-largest economy. They argue many sectors would stand to benefit, including the services industry as well as beef and pork producers.
But as with any trade deal, Canada would have give something up to collect the bounty. One of the main concessions targeted by other countries at the table: reducing Canada’s protectionism on dairy imports. Domestically, a government decision to loosen supply management of the dairy sector would be politically delicate, particularly ahead of the October election. The prospect of opening up access to the market has been met by strong opposition from dairy farmers and has even stirred protests.
TPP Trade Deal Proposal Would See CBC, Canada Post Exist Solely For Profit
(HuffPost) A leaked document from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks indicates the CBC, Canada Post and other Crown corporations could be required to operate solely for profit under the deal’s terms. It’s unknown whether the principles outlined in the document will be a part of the final agreement, but the paper — a briefing for ministers ahead of a December, 2013, TPP meeting — also raises questions about the extent to which Canada will be able to continue using taxpayers’ money to fund Crown corporations, such as the $1-billion annual subsidy to the CBC.
The briefing, which was obtained and released by Wikileaks, states that a “majority of TPP countries” have agreed that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will have to “act on the basis of commercial considerations.”
The document — which makes clear that final decisions on these issues hadn’t been made at that time — also indicates that state-owned companies may be subject to all the rules of the TPP.
If that were to be the case, governments would not be able to fund Crown corporations with taxpayers’ money if that funding has “adverse effects” on another TPP country, says Jane Kelsey, a professor of law at the University of Auckland, in an analysis of the document she prepared for Wikileaks.
“It looks like SOEs are not allowed to get government support or noncommercial assistance. … That kind of support is often essential for SOEs that provide public functions that are not profitable or are even loss-making.”
24 July
Why the TPP is all about Japan for Canada
(Globe & Mail) The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal has been cast as a showdown between Canada and the United States over this country’s protected dairy and poultry industries.
But the real stakes are about Japan – the world’s third-largest market. Being kept out of the TPP would be a stealth export killer for Canada – not because of the trade gains Canada would leave on the table, but because of what it would lose if it’s not there. Trade rivals would steal billions of dollars worth of export sales from us in Japan. The cost of exclusion may actually dwarf the benefits of inclusion.
For Canada, the TPP is all about Japan. Canada already has free-trade agreements with four TPP countries: the United States, Mexico, Peru and Chile. And most trade is relatively unimpeded with two others: Australia and New Zealand.
‘Shrewd’ Canada playing long game as TPP trade talks begin in Maui
What concessions would Canada consider in a Trans-Pacific Partnership deal? ‘That’s a good question’
(CBC) The Americans … are now armed with fast-track negotiating authority from the U.S. Congress.
Which in America’s playbook means more volleys against one of the few defensive positions Canada takes on trade: the quota-based supply management system that sustains dairy, poultry and egg farmers.
Cue another open letter from U.S. lawmakers equating an unwillingness to dismantle marketing boards with not taking negotiations seriously.
Tee up media for another subtle threat from U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman that if Canada doesn’t give more, it will be left behind.
Japan, the other country driving in the front seat, made similar noise. Canada could be out, its trade minister suggested.
30 June
Christopher Ragan: Pacific trade deal an opportunity for Canadian dairy to expand and export
(Globe & Mail) Over the next few months, Canadians will hear a lot about the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and about the possibility that our “supply management” of the dairy and poultry industries is on the bargaining table. This might even become a significant issue in the fall federal election. So this seems like the right time for a primer.
“Supply management” is the Canadian term for a system that forcibly restricts output and raises prices, thus enhancing producers’ incomes. The output of milk is restricted through the use of “quota” – dairy farmers must possess enough for their entire dairy herd, and cannot sell their milk without it. The total amount of quota is less than the quantity of milk that would otherwise be sold in an unregulated market, and this restriction drives up the market price of dairy products.
You might think this high-price system obviously benefits dairy farmers, but it’s actually not so simple. Farmers lucky enough to receive their quota for free, when the system was first created many years ago, are now sitting on assets of tremendous value – and have also been benefiting from years of high milk prices.
Any farmer who entered the industry much later, however, had to purchase the necessary dairy quota at market prices. Today, it costs between $25,000 and $30,000 to purchase the quota to sell one cow’s milk; adequate quota for a typical herd of 70 cows would thus cost about $2-million.
20 June
CIBC: Free Trade Deals Becoming ‘Bureaucratic Nightmare,’ Time Has Come To Fix Them
(HuffPost) “Something is not working” with the free trade deals Canada has signed onto, CIBC World Markets says in a new report — but don’t expect the usual argument against globalization.
Instead, CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal says the problem with existing free trade deals is they are so unwieldy that in some cases they’re not actually eliminating the barriers to trade between countries.
And though the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made signing new trade deals a major priority, Tal says Canada should focus on fixing the ones it already has.
17 June
Trans-Pacific Partnership? Never heard of it, Canadians tell pollster
Australian trade minister says a final deal is ‘one week of negotiation away’
(CBC) A new poll suggests three in four Canadians have no idea that Canada is one of 12 countries immersed in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
8 June
Harper presses EU leaders to enact trade deal with Canada at G7 meeting
(Globe & Mail) Stephen Harper used his last appearance on the international stage before a looming fall election to urge European Union leaders to ratify and enact a landmark trade deal between the 28-member trading bloc and Canada – a crucial political achievement for him as he seeks a fourth term in office.
At the Group of Seven summit of wealthy nations in Bavaria, Germany, Mr. Harper repeatedly called on EU counterparts to speed passage of the deal which the Conservative leader is expected to repeatedly cite during the election campaign as proof he’s performed well as steward of the Canadian economy.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Mr. Harper raised the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) in at least four meetings Sunday, including tête-à-têtes with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top European Union officials as well as the G7 group session on the global economy. He asked them to “swiftly implement” the deal, the PMO said.
4 June
The Scariest Trade Deal Nobody’s Talking About Just Suffered a Big Leak
(New Republic) … the largest agreement is also the least heralded: the 51-nation Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).
On Wednesday, WikiLeaks brought this agreement into the spotlight by releasing 17 key TiSA-related documents, including 11 full chapters under negotiation. Though the outline for this agreement has been in place for nearly a year, these documents were supposed to remain classified for five years after being signed, an example of the secrecy surrounding the agreement, which outstrips even the TPP.
TiSA has been negotiated since 2013, between the United States, the European Union, and 22 other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and others scattered across South America and Asia. Overall, 12 of the G20 nations are represented, and negotiations have carefully incorporated practically every advanced economy except for the “BRICS” coalition of emerging markets (which stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
The deal would liberalize global trade of services, an expansive definition that encompasses air and maritime transport, package delivery, e-commerce, telecommunications, accountancy, engineering, consulting, health care, private education, financial services and more, covering close to 80 percent of the U.S. economy. Though member parties insist that the agreement would simply stop discrimination against foreign service providers, the text shows that TiSA would restrict how governments can manage their public laws through an effective regulatory cap. It could also dismantle and privatize state-owned enterprises, and turn those services over to the private sector. You begin to sound like the guy hanging out in front of the local food co-op passing around leaflets about One World Government when you talk about TiSA, but it really would clear the way for further corporate domination over sovereign countries and their citizens. …
Member countries claim they want to simply open up trade in services between the 51 nations in the agreement. But there’s already an international deal governing these sectors through the World Trade Organization (WTO), called the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The only reason to re-write the rules is to replace GATS, which the European Union readily admits (“if enough WTO members join in, TiSA could be turned into a broader WTO agreement”).
That’s perhaps TiSA’s real goal—to pry open markets, deregulate and privatize services worldwide, even among emerging nations with no input into the agreement. U.S. corporations may benefit from such a structure, as the Chamber of Commerce suggests, but the impact on workers and citizens in America and across the globe is far less clear. Social, cultural, and even public health goals would be sidelined in favor of a regime that puts corporate profits first. It effectively nullifies the role of democratic governments to operate in the best interest of their constituents.
See Guy Stanley comment of 10 Oct, below
3 June
Canadians Have Reason to Be Wary of TPP Trade Deal
Details of the biggest negotiations on the planet still shrouded in secrecy
(The Tyee) Canada’s business community has mobilized in recent weeks to call on the government to adopt a more aggressive, engaged approach with respect to the biggest trade negotiations on the planet — the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The TPP involves 12 countries including the United States, Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Vietnam, Brunei, Japan, Peru and Chile.
Negotiators insist that progress is being made, but some in the business community are concerned that Canada may be left out of the deal unless it makes significant concessions on market access (including the dismantling of supply management in several agricultural sectors), restrictive intellectual property protections, and investor-state dispute settlement rules that allow companies to sue governments and potentially trump national courts.
18 May
Trans-Pacific Partnership too important to Canada to be held hostage to partisan politics
By Jeff Brownlee, VP of public affairs and partnerships, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.
Canada will enjoy a unique advantage as the only country with preferred access to both European and Pacific markets
(Financial Post) Now that President Barack Obama has finally been given authority to negotiate trade agreements on behalf of the U.S. government without further congressional intervention, chances are that Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations will quickly conclude. A TPP agreement promises new opportunities for Canadian businesses in key markets in the Americas and across the Pacific.
The TPP will make it easier for Canadian companies to do business in 11 countries around the Pacific where we do not have trade agreements at the present time, as well as our current free trade partners the United States, Mexico, and Chile. The TPP will eliminate tariffs on Canadian exports and lower the costs of moving goods and people across borders. It will remove restrictions on Canadian investment and the activities of our services exporters. It will help protect intellectual property rights and guard against discriminatory regulations that exclude Canadian products and services. And, it will enable Canadian companies to get their products tested and approved for sale in new markets. The TPP should even make it easier to do business with our NAFTA partners.
13 April
Will Harper try to ratify Canada-EU trade deal by June?
( During the last federal election campaign, Stephen Harper pledged to sign a “free trade” agreement with the European Union by 2012. At a campaign stop in Halifax on March 31, 2011 he stated, “My message today is that a re-elected Conservative government will move ahead full throttle to complete historic free trade agreements with the European Union and India.”
Four years later, the Canada-India “free trade” talks are stalled and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has not been officially completed despite well-publicized “signing” ceremonies in October 2013 in Brussels and September 2014 in Ottawa. … some political realities in Europe.
First of all, it is generally believed that the ratification process in Europe won’t begin until January 2016 with votes in the national legislatures of the 28-member states, followed by a vote in the European Parliament in April 2016. The Syriza government in Greece is not likely to ratify CETA and if its investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision is unchanged the whole deal could be defeated in the European Parliament.
And secondly, Germany, France and other European governments still want to renegotiate that ISDS provision. During her February 2015 visit to Ottawa, German chancellor Angela Merkel commented in diplomatic terms, “We are currently in the process of transposing the agreement into law, and there are still a few matters that must be clarified.”


One Comment on "Canada International Relations – Trade (2015-16)"

  1. Guy Stanley October 10, 2015 at 8:05 am ·

    The limits of TISA seem to be governed by each country’s “offer”. Since reciprocity is the basic principle of trade negs, service suppliers who want more access abroad must be prepared to accept more competition at home. Governments would likely respond positively to industry requests.
    Does that mean, for example, Canada would widen the deposit-taking room for foreign bank branches, or even waive generally the restrictions on branch openings, or change bank ownership rules to enable banks to acquire and be acquired? Is CMHC TISA-compatible? All one can say is that TISA’s framework is congenial to pro-private changes if any government wants to make them.
    The ratchet clause seems particularly obscure. Perhaps it is intended as a substitute for foreign investor protection.
    Apparently the agreement allows governments to regulate broadly provided they don’t regulate specifically against foreign entities: that is the normal interpretation of national treatment. But in small countries, a market can be dominated by foreign companies so that any regulation affects mainly foreigners.
    There is no information on right of establishment, which seems consistent in a way with the GATS.concepts of “modes” of service delivery. Does that mean a domestic regulation has to be fair to service suppliers outside the country – offshore gambling, internet ad strategists, etc.? What about franchises?
    The basic question – whether the deal restricts expansion of the public sector and allows it to erode over time? I suspect that is a possible outcome, but it depends on the domestic government and its offer. The absence of standard investor protection suggests public sector evolution has some scope. But those clauses are still a part of trade agreements. So, for instance, a government that wishes to make a regulatory change that impacts foreign business specifically (e.g. a pharma company specializing in a class of medication that research proves needs tighter controls) might find itself facing a tribunal. This becomes a serious issue if the regulatory framework has not been updated to protect against it.
    Big capital, i.e. global business, clearly wants as seamlessly as possible a congenial regulatory environment across all countries. That increasingly means the same regulation unless a national political system is sufficiently mature and self-confident to insist on its particular priorities. A professional, experienced and highly competent public service is crucial to the successful negotiation and implementation of these treaties to ensure they serve national objectives. The post-NAFTA experience suggests Canada can handle most of the challenges quite well, but not all. My guess is it will be the same for TISA.

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