A day after Mexico was welcomed
into negotiations over a sweeping pan-Pacific trade pact, Canada was also invited Tuesday, with two of the United States’ top five trading partners now involved.
Canada's entry to the Trans-Pacific Partnership discussions was lauded by many of the same organizations that praised the inclusion of Mexico on Monday.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his country has been a driving force for global and regional trade liberalization.
“Opening new markets and creating new business opportunities leads to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians,” Harper said. “A TPP agreement will enhance trade in the Asia-Pacific region and will provide greater economic opportunity for Canadians and Canadian businesses.”
Aside from the TPP, Canada is exploring free trade with Thailand and has begun free trade negotiations with Japan. Since announcing its interest in joining the TPP at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit in November 2011, Canada has held consultations with all nine TPP member countries to gain their support.
The TPP is a free trade agreement currently under negotiation by nine countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The current membership represents a market of 510 million people and a GDP of $17.6 trillion. With the participation of Canada and Mexico the market will comprise 658 million people and a GDP of $20.5 trillion.
“On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Mexico was invited to join the TPP negotiations, we welcome today’s news that another key U.S. trading partner – Canada – has been admitted to the negotiations,” said the National Foreign Trade Council. “The inclusion of both Mexico and Canada this week adds momentum to what has the potential to become the model for plurilateral agreements moving forward, and we urge all TPP partners to continue working toward making that ambitious, but achievable, goal a reality.” - Eric Johnson