On September 30, 2017, Global Affairs Canada commenced a consultation process with Canadians about on entering into a TransPacific Partnership Agreement with the remaining 11 counties (“TPP-1”). An announcement was published in the Canada Gazette, Part 1, Volume 151, No. 39 (September 30, 2017) concerning the consultations. On page 3759, Global Affairs published a notice entitled “Consultations on Canada’s discussions with the remaining members of what was previously the Trans-Pacific Partnership”.
The TransPacific Partnership Agreement (“TPP”) was multi-lateral free trade agreement originally concluded on October 5, 2015 with 12 countries (including the United States). However, on January 30, 2017, the United States notified signatories that it did not intend to become a party to the TPP.
The countries at issue in the current TPP negotiations are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam (“TPP-1). Given the current NAFTA modernization discussions and President Trump’s threat to withdraw from NAFTA, the inclusion of Mexico in the TPP-1 negotiations presents an opportunity to maintain current supply chains and modernize trade between Canada and Mexico without the United States.
The Government of Canada is seeking the views of the Canadian public and interested Canadian stakeholders on a potential TPP-1 agreement with the remaining countries. The deadline for submissions is October 30, 2017. This consultation seeks the views of interested Canadians on interests or issues of importance to them regarding trade and investment with these important countries, particularly Japan. Canada considered a free trade agreement with Japan for a number of years. Should any free trade agreement with Japan be bilateral or multilateral through TPP-1?
The Global Affairs notice requires submissions to include:
1. the contributor’s name and address and, if applicable, the name of the contributor’s organization, institution or business;
2. the specific issues being addressed; and
3. where possible, precise information on the rationale for the positions taken, including any significant impact they may have on Canada’s domestic or international interests.
All submissions will be considered to be public and could be made available on a website. As a result, companies should not file business plans that they do not wish competitors to see.
Global Affairs Canada also states that it “would appreciate receiving views from Canadians regarding trade and investment interests with these countries, as well as issues that relate to other Canadian interests and values (e.g. corporate social responsibility, trade and gender).” Canadian companies and interested parties should review the TPP text and let the Government of Canada know what improvements are required to the former TPP text. What is missing? What concessions should be modified? What improvements can be made? What should Canada ask for? What should Canada take off the table as it was a concession granted to the United States and is not necessary to secure an agreement with the remaining countries? Is their a market access request that Canada should be seeking with the remaining countries? Are there technical barriers to trade in the remaining countries that Canada should attempt to dismantle in TPP-1?
It is worth noting that Canada is considering a free trade agreement with the ASEAN countries. The ASEAN countries are Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. As a result, there is some overlap with TPP-1. As a result, submissions should include a recommendation of how the Global Affairs negotiators should proceed. Should efforts be put on the TPP-1 (which includes Mexico and Japan) or the ASEAN countries.