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 mixed after Wall Street sees gains

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - Asian stock markets were mixed Tuesday after Wall Street gained as investors looked ahead to this week's gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. KEEPING SCORE: Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1 per cent to 27,421.58 points and Seoul's Kospi added 0.3 per cent to 2,362.40. Source
  • Average Canadian mortgage nears $200K, up 5% in a year

    Economic CBC News
    Canadians owe more than ever before on their mortgages, but fewer and fewer borrowers are falling behind on their payments. That's one of the major takeaways from a report published Tuesday from credit monitoring firm TransUnion, which looked at every active credit file across the country to gauge the financial health of borrowers and consumers. Source
  • Border-beer case could end Canadian federalism, N.B. government argues

    Economic CTV News
    FREDERICTON - A battle over cross-border beer sales threatens to end Canadian federalism as it was originally conceived, the New Brunswick government argues in a submission to the country's top court. In a statement of facts to the Supreme Court of Canada, the province says allowing a New Brunswick man to purchase alcohol in a Quebec border town could ultimately "redesign Canadian federalism. Source
  • Stop the presses: Globe and Mail ends print edition in Maritimes

    Economic CBC News
    The Globe and Mail will stop delivering its print edition to the Maritimes, the newspaper said Monday. Phillip Crawley, the publisher and CEO, said it followed the decision made in 2013 to stop printing in Newfoundland and Labrador. Source
  • Globe and Mail to scrap print edition in Atlantic Canada later this year

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Globe and Mail is putting a stop to its daily print edition across Atlantic Canada later this year. Publisher Phillip Crawley says the national newspaper plans to halt production for the East Coast version on Nov. Source
  • German softwood imports up tenfold in wake of U.S. duties on Canadian industry

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- U.S. imports of softwood from Germany have grown tenfold in the first half of the year as punishing duties pushed imports of Canadian softwood down. RBC Capital Markets analyst Paul Quinn says Canadian lumber producers have plunked down an estimated $500 million so far in countervailing and antidumping duties after the U.S. Source
  • Home Capital class-action lawsuit settlement approved by Ont. court

    Economic CBC News
    An Ontario court has approved the settlement of a $29.5 million class-action lawsuit by investors against alternative mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. The Ontario Securities Commission approved a settlement earlier this month with the Toronto-based company and three former executives who agreed they failed to tell investors quickly and completely about fraudulent activity by some mortgage brokers associated with the lender. Source
  • Court approves Home Capital class-action lawsuit settlement

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON, Ont. - An Ontario court has approved the settlement of a $29.5 million class-action lawsuit by investors against alternative mortgage lender Home Capital Group Inc. The Ontario Securities Commission approved a settlement earlier this month with the Toronto-based company and three former executives who agreed they failed to tell investors quickly and completely about fraudulent activity by some mortgage brokers associated with the lender. Source
  • Transat shares surge after positively revising summer earnings outlook

    Economic CBC News
    Shares of Transat A.T. surged on Monday to the highest level since early 2015 after the travel company signalled that it is having a significantly more profitable summer season than it had expected. The Montreal-based company's shares rose as high as $8.85 on Monday before easing back to $8.70 in intraday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, up 74 cents from Friday's close. Source
  • Losing PC Financial may give Loblaw the chance to merge PC Points with Shoppers Optimum, analyst says

    Economic CBC News
    Another divorce in Canada's loyalty card sector has consumers stuck in the middle asking questions about the future of an industry still bruised by the actions of some of its largest providers. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce announced last week it is severing ties with Loblaw's President's Choice Financial and rolling PC's two million bank accounts into its Simplii Financial brand starting Nov. Source