TPP trade agreement reached but contentious as ever
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.
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.
- Perrin Beatty is the president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. We reached him in Ottawa.
- Jim Stanford is an economist with Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union. He was in our Toronto studio.
This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino.