On July 27, 2019, Global Affairs Canada started a consultation on whether South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Kingdom should join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”). An announcement was published in the Canada Gazette, Part 1. Global Affairs Canada has also indicated in a backgrounder that they “welcome views on the potential accession of any other Asia-Pacific economy”.  In other words, stakeholders may make submissions on whether China should be permitted to join the CPTPP.

Stakeholders include individuals, businesses (including SMBs), industry associations, experts, consultants, academics, civil society organization, labour unions, governments, indigenous groups, students and youth and other interested Canadian stakeholders.

The deadline for filing submissions is August 25, 2019 at 11:59PM EST.  However, it should be noted that any submissions filed will be available to the public.

Submissions should include the following:

  1. 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 it may have on Canada’s domestic or international interests.

Global Affairs Canada has indicated that it would like input on the specific markets that Canadians and businesses would be supportive of acceding to the CPTPP.  Global Affairs Canada is looking for the following issues to be addressed in submissions.

Trade and investment interests
  • Goods of export or import interest (identified by Harmonized System [HS]/Tariff codes) that would benefit from the expedited or phased-in removal of tariffs and other barriers by the market of interest or Canada, as well as any import sensitivities;
  • Rules of origin, for specific products or sectors (identified by HS/Tariff codes), that would be required to benefit from preferential tariff treatment;
  • Origin procedures to administer the rules of origin, including any customs processes that may have an impact on accessing preferential tariff treatment;
  • Non-tariff barriers (such as import licensing, administration of tariff-rate quotas, taxes, lack of transparency), technical barriers to trade (including technical regulations, standards or conformity assessment procedures), and sanitary and phytosanitary measures;
  • Border and customs issues that have an impact on the movement of commercial goods into and out of markets potentially seeking membership to the CPTPP;
  • Investment barriers, including restrictions imposed on foreign ownership or entry to market, questions of transparency of regulation and performance requirements;
  • Trade facilitation issues (e.g. impediments related to import procedures);
  • Interests related to trade in services, specifically identification of sectors and activities of export interest for Canadian service providers, market access barriers and domestic regulatory measures that either restrict or affect the ability to conduct business or deliver services in the market of interest;
  • Temporary entry of business people from Canada into the market of interest and from the market of interest into Canada (e.g. any impediments when entering the market of interest, or Canada, to work on a temporary basis);
  • Electronic commerce (e.g. any restrictive measures faced by Canadian suppliers of digital products and services in the market of interest, such as requirements for data localization);
  • Priority government procurement markets for Canadian suppliers in the market of interest member states, including at the central, sub-central and local levels; also, note the goods, services and construction services that Canadian suppliers are interested in selling to those government organizations, as well as barriers faced when selling or attempting to sell to governments in the market of interest;
  • Any issues affecting business practices when interacting with state-owned enterprises;
  • Application and enforcement by the market of interest of intellectual property (IP) laws, regulations, policies or procedures that may result in discrimination against foreign intellectual property, such as brand names, and any requirements for the sharing or transfer of IP or confidential business information;
  • Competition policy matters, including competition law enforcement or other measures affecting competition in the market of interest;
  • Preferred approach to trade remedies to be applied to trade between the market of interest and Canada; and
  • Any incidents of unfair business practices.

Why should you participate in the consultations?

Stakeholders should participate because the Government of Canada needs input in order to make decisions that are in the best interest of Canada. The negotiators might not know what will help your business expand its sales in the target markets of South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom (and China).

With respect to South Korea, Canada has entered into a free trade agreement with South Korea.  Is that free trade agreement meeting the needs of Canadian stakeholders or would accession to the CPTPP improve opportunities?

Canada recently entered into the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“Canada-EU CETA”).  Canada has ratified the Canada-EU CETA.  The United Kingdom has not ratified the Canada-EU CETA.  For more information on ratifications of Canada-EU CETA see Only 50% of EU countries have ratified the Canada-EU CETA.  Is this the best route to have a Canada-UK free trade agreement after Brexit?

On January 23, 2018, Canada and Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam reached an agreement in principle on CPTPP (formerly known as the TransPacific Partnership Agreement, TPP, TTTP-1, and TPP-11). The United States withdrew from TPP in January 2017. The CPTPP was signed on March 8, 2018.  The CPTPP entered into force for Canada, Australia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore on December 30, 2018, and for Vietnam on January 14, 2019. For the remaining signatories (Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, and Peru), the CPTPP will enter into force 60 days after they have completed their domestic ratification procedures.

If you would like help preparing a submission, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or at cyndee@lexsage.com.