The Current

TPP trade agreement reached but contentious as ever

Today Pacific trade ministers have reached a deal. Stephen Harper has made it clear not everyone will benefit from the this new trade deal. The deal will affect everything from drugs to cars... to butter and cheese. We debate the merits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
A dairy farmer walks with his cow during during a protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada September 29, 2015. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)
Listen19:16

Ten years ago, New Zealand - wanting to sell more butter - joined three countries: Brunei, Chile and Singapore, to create what was then called the Asia-Pacific Cooperation forum.   Within a few years, more countries - including the U.S. and Australia - had joined.  By 2012 Canada and Mexico were in.  And the Trans Pacific Partnership went into bigger negotiations.

The deal involves 12 countries with 40-percent of the world's GDP, making it the biggest trade deal in Canadian history.  And it is being called the most important one since NAFTA - the North American Free Trade Agreement - came into effect in 1994.

There are reports this morning that Pacific trade ministers finally reached a deal after missing several deadlines over the weekend. Details are scarce but New Zealand's trade minister was earlier quoted as saying there will be tough compromises - they will be, in his words "swallowing dead rats on three or four issues to get this deal across the line." He didn't mention Butter.

The TPP is the most significant trade deal for Canada since NAFTA. Supporters say it will boost the economy, critics say it will harm certain industries such as auto parts and dairy. (Canadian Family, Flickr cc)
 With two weeks to go until Election Day, the TPP has become a hot issue on the campaign trail.  The sweeping pact will affect everything from drugs to cars .. to butter and cheese. Critics say concessions in the auto parts and dairy industries could cost jobs. But business leaders say Canadian exports will get a boost.
The CBC's James Fitz-Morris explains what exactly the Trans-Pacific Partnership could mean for Canada. Could it be a boon for the economy? 1:36

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says it will strengthen Canada's economy, and promises to submit the deal to Parliament for final approval. But NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says the Conservatives don't have a mandate to conclude negotiations during an election campaign, and says an NDP government would not be "bound" by the deal.Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he supports trade deals, and expects this one will be good for Canada -- but criticized Mr. Harper for being too secretive about it.

Today, we looked at the debate over the TPP from from both sides.


 

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino.