Feds still studying Trans-Pacific Partnership as minister signs trade deal in New Zealand

OTTAWA -- The federal government is studying the potential economic impacts of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, Canada's international trade minister confirmed Wednesday.

See Full Article

Chrystia Freeland was in New Zealand on Wednesday to sign the massive 12-country Pacific Rim treaty, a deal opponents warn could eliminate Canadian jobs and damage some sectors of the economy.

That signature comes before the government has finished assessing the economic costs and benefits the deal potentially holds for Canada, she acknowledged.

But Freeland has also said on multiple occasions that signing the deal would not necessarily mean ratification, a final step that is up to two years away.

The Liberals have billed the signature as a "technical step" that will allow Canada to stay at the bargaining table.

In the meantime, the government is taking a closer look the TPP's potential consequences, Freeland acknowledged Wednesday in a conference call from Auckland prior to signing the agreement.

"That is a very important part of the analysis and of the conversation that Canadians need to have," she said.

"It's a big job and we are working on it."

Freeland has also requested a thorough study of the agreement by a parliamentary committee and has conducted public consultations. Once the deal is signed, only a majority vote in Parliament would seal its ratification.

During question period Wednesday, the Liberals came under pressure from the opposition New Democrats, who demanded to know why the government would sign the accord without first exploring its potential consequences.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair also asked if the government will make its findings public.

"We said we would study the accord and that's exactly what we will do," David Lametti, Freeland's parliamentary secretary, said in response to one of Mulcair's questions.

"He says he must conduct studies," Mulcair shot back, "therefore he just admitted that they don't have a study -- and yet they're signing it today."

The wide-ranging accord covers 40 per cent of the world economy and -- if ratified -- would set new international rules for sectors beyond trade.

Supporters of the TPP have said it would open foreign markets and could bring significant benefits for sectors like forestry, some manufacturing segments and agriculture, especially canola, beef and pork production.

On the other hand, law experts and business leaders, including BlackBerry co-founder Jim Balsillie, have been highly critical of the deal's intellectual property provisions.

Mulcair has insisted the agreement would kill thousands of Canadian jobs, damage the auto industry and weaken the country's supply managed dairy and poultry sector.

The deal was negotiated under the former Conservative government, which also offered a $4.3-billion compensation package over 15 years to help the dairy industry cope with the impact of additional imports.

On Wednesday, Freeland said she was "very sympathetic to and mindful of the need for support" should the TPP to come into force.

But it's too early to say if the Conservative compensation package will remain on the table if the deal is ratified, she added.

She also said Ottawa was well aware of the potential impacts that ratifying the deal would have on the auto sector and the entire production chain.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Asian stocks tumble after Italy rejects constitutional changes

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - Asian shares tumbled Monday after Italian voters' rejected constitutional changes, raising questions over whether Italy will stay in the European Union and keep using the euro. KEEPING SCORE: Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 index dropped 1 per cent to 5,391.40 points and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9 per cent to 3,215.30. Source
  • Euro tumbles after Italy's PM resigns, loses referendum

    Economic CBC News
    The euro tumbled in early Asian trade on Monday after Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he would resign after conceding defeat in a referendum over his plan to reform the constitution. The euro dropped 1.3 per cent to $1.0505 US, falling below its 1 1/2-year low of $1.0518 touched late last month, and testing its key support levels where the currency has managed to rebound in the past couple of years. Source
  • Company sold turf product after learning of defects: report

    Economic CTV News
    WOODBRIDGE, N.J. -- The country's leading maker of artificial sports turf sold more than 1,000 fields to towns, schools and teams nationwide after its executives knew they were falling apart faster than expected and might not live up to lofty marketing claims, according to an investigation by a news organization. Source
  • Montreal-based company sold turf product after learning of defects: report

    Economic CTV News
    WOODBRIDGE, N.J. -- The country's leading maker of artificial sports turf sold more than 1,000 fields to towns, schools and teams nationwide after its executives knew they were falling apart faster than expected and might not live up to lofty marketing claims, according to an investigation by a news organization. Source
  • U.S., China, EU, others fail to reach environmental goods deal

    Economic CTV News
    GENEVA -- Forty-six countries including the U.S., China and European Union nations failed Sunday to agree on a list of "environmental goods" like solar-powered air conditioners or LED light bulbs that could be targeted for lower tariffs. Source
  • Venezuela to issue new bills with current ones worth no more than 2 U.S. cents

    Economic CTV News
    BOGOTA -- Venezuela said it will issue higher-denominated bills as triple-digit inflation and a currency meltdown leave the country's largest note worth just around 2 U.S. cents on the black market. The central bank said in a statement Saturday that six new bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 Bolivars will begin circulating on Dec. Source
  • Six things to know about the bovine TB outbreak: CFIA's chief veterinary officer

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- More than 22,000 cattle at farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan are quarantined due to bovine tuberculosis, causing hardship for ranchers and millions in compensation payments and other costs. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is testing cattle to determine the extent of the outbreak and the source of the contagious bacterial infection. Source
  • U.K.'s Boris Johnson downplays EU payment suggestions

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's foreign secretary has dismissed suggestions that London would be willing to pay into European Union coffers following an exit from the bloc, describing the idea as speculation. Boris Johnson's comments to the BBC on Sunday came after Britain's minister for leaving the European Union, David Davis, said that the country might be willing to pay in return for access to the single market. Source
  • Beyond the hippie stereotype: A closer look at the opposition to Trans Mountain

    Economic CBC News
    A conversation about tripling your money on a tech start up might seem out of place at an anti-pipeline march, but not so in Vancouver. When thousands of protestors made their way from City Hall to downtown a few weeks ago, chatter about stock options and where to go for ramen after the rally could be heard alongside the traditional indigenous drumming and chants of "Hey, hey, Trudeau, Kinder Morgan's got to go". Source
  • Using Air Miles for overseas flights? It may not be a great deal

    Economic CBC News
    You've saved your Air Miles for a well-deserved overseas adventure — but don't pack your bags just yet, as you may be in for a surprise. Seventeen million Canadians collect Air Miles reward points on everything from groceries to gas. Source