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

  • Credit agency pushes feds to give it access to list of social insurance numbers

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- An international credit reporting agency is pushing the federal government to give it access to a monthly list of new social insurance numbers despite years of rejections over privacy concerns. TransUnion made the request anew earlier this year, shortly after Patty Hajdu became labour minister, to access the list that contains the range of social insurance numbers issued each month in various regions of the country. Source
  • Canadians set record with U.S. real estate shopping spree

    Economic CBC News
    New Brunswick's Joel Levesque had no idea he was helping set a record when he bought a home in Fort Myers, Fla., back in April. The 63-year-old semi-retired public affairs professional wanted a place to escape for the winter and didn't feel like waiting around for the loonie to gain ground on the greenback. Source
  • Debt got you down? Start a debt-destruction club

    Economic CBC News
    If you run, hide, or plug your ears every time the topic of money comes up, you're not alone. But as the era of ultra-low interest rates comes to an end, you need to force yourself to face your finances. Source
  • Ontario transit agency won't let Bombardier bid to operate commuter trains

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Ontario's transit agency has decided not to appeal a court ruling favouring Bombardier but will exclude the Montreal-based company from bidding to continue operating GO Transit trains as it has done for decades. Source
  • Business groups blast Ontario labour proposals on last day of consultations

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Unions and advocacy groups made one last effort Friday to sway the Ontario government on its plan for sweeping changes to the province's labour laws, with some sounding the alarm about what they deem drastic measures and others arguing the proposal doesn't go far enough. Source
  • Marijuana companies band together to develop marketing guidelines

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Sixteen of Canada's licensed marijuana producers have enlisted the help of Advertising Standards Canada to develop guidelines on how the drug should be branded and promoted before its recreational use becomes legal next year. Source
  • Husky Energy set to repair pipeline that spilled crude into river a year ago

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) says it has been granted permission to repair and replace a section of pipeline that leaked 225,000 litres of crude in Saskatchewan just over a year ago. Chief executive Robert Peabody said that it will be applying lessons learned from the spill on the rebuild. Source
  • Ford says it will fight latest Takata recall

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- Ford is fighting the latest expansion of the Takata air bag inflator recall. Earlier this month Takata filed documents with the U.S. government adding 2.7 million vehicles to the recall from Ford, Nissan and Mazda. Source
  • FedEx to close all Office Print and Ship Centres across Canada

    Economic CTV News
    FedEx Canada has announced that it will be closing all of its FedEx Office Print and Ship Centres, across Canada. All 24 centres, the manufacturing plant, and the head office in Toronto will close. Source
  • Car buying pushes retail sales up for third month in a row in May

    Economic CBC News
    Strong auto sector activity helped Canadian retail sales activity rise for a third straight month in May, climbing by 0.6 per cent to $48.9 billion, Statistics Canada said Friday. The monthly increase was double the consensus expectation of economists Source