Tories consider joining Trans-Pacific trade group
Might be willing to rethink farm quotas, tariffs
The Harper government says it is eyeing membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an Asia-Pacific free-trade block, and may be willing to negotiate aspects of Canada's supply management system for certain farm products in order to get in.
Trade Minister Peter Van Loan said he met with most members of the alliance in Japan last week, and Canadian officials have sat in on some meetings as observers.
The original members that formed the economic partnership in 2005 are New Zealand, Chile, Brunei and Singapore. The U.S., Australia, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam are all currently in negotiations to join.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the rounds of partnership members during last week's G20 summit in Seoul.
No decision has been made about whether Canada will formally request to join the club, but Canada's politically sensitive supply management of eggs, dairy and poultry is regarded as a poison pill, particularly for the United States.
Van Loan said Canada is not signalling it is willing to abandon the management system, which governs product quotas and tariffs, only that it is willing to negotiate.