A CANADIAN ON TPP
“What was a blessing for Western Canada–Asian markets finally opening–could be even better without the presence of U.S. competitors.”
July 26, 2017 (publication date)
On January 23, 2017 — just three days after taking the oath of office — President Trump issued a memorandum that announced America’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. While that action provoked a great deal of consternation around the world, it has not killed the TPP agreement. And not everyone is unhappy. Carlo Dade is among those who, to the contrary, see a world of advantages for Canada, especially Vancouver and environs, to a TPP that does not include the United States.
Mr. Dade is the Director of the Trade and Investment Centre at the Canada West Foundation. Today’s featured quote is from an article of his that was published in the Vancouver Sun on July 26. Yes, Canada’s ranchers and other agricultural producers should be able to gain market share in Asia at the expense of the U.S. if Canada and the other other ten TPP countries can conclude a revised TPP agreement. But that is only part of the potential Canadian advantage of a TPP without the U.S.
For Mr. Dade, there is more to the story. “It is not just beef and other commodity exporters that stand to gain,” he writes. “There are bigger opportunities on trade in services.” And, he adds, “For Vancouver, a TPP 11 is a chance to accelerate the movement of production, especially in services like high-tech, from the U.S.”
That is assuming, of course, that the remaining eleven can come to a final agreement on a new TPP, that is, one without the United States. Mr. Dade seems comfortable with that assumption. “All indications from media in TPP countries are that TPP 11 will indeed go ahead,” he writes.
Our guess — and it is only a guess — is that there is indeed a strong likelihood that TPP or some not too different successor to it will in fact come into being before too long. Whether the eleven will be able to wrap things up by November is another issue. It is their widely reported goal to have the deal essentially done by the time of the APEC Leaders’ meeting, which will be held in Da Nang, Vietnam, in early November.
Whether TPP is a done deal then or not, it should be an awfully interesting set of discussions. President Trump is planning to attend the Leaders’ meeting, though, obviously, not the side meetings of the TPP countries.
And, of course, one can only guess at how much intervening events will complicate things. Just as a taste, there was the July 28 announcement by Japan of a new “emergency tariff” on frozen imported beef. America is Japan’s largest supplier of that product and will be the hardest hit by that action. Even so, it has left countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with Japan — including Canada — envying countries like Australia that do have such an agreement. It has also given an added impetus to the TPP negotiations for those for whom they are still relevant.
Portland, Oregon, was not directly in the path of the full eclipse. But we were awfully close, which is to say that we did manage a brief twilight in the midst of an otherwise bright morning. That experience is over, but the metaphor lingers. With the signing of President Trump’s TPP withdrawal memorandum on January 23, we entered of a period of eclipse for America and TPP. U.S. policy makers and trade negotiators are now focused elsewhere, namely on the effort to revise and upgrade NAFTA.
But — thought for the day — maybe this fading of TPP is only a temporary eclipse. Certainly, if the other eleven manage to pull together enough to pull off a final deal, TPP will be an agreement that America will need to confront anew. If that happens, we will, with some enthusiasm, be dusting off an old adage: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
SOURCES & LINKS
TPP – The Vancouver Advantage is a link to an op-ed in the Vancouver Sun by Carlo Dade of the Canada West Foundation. This was the source for today’s quote.
Beef Tariffs Up is a report from the Omaha Herald on Japan’s decision at the end of July to impose “emergency” tariffs of 50 percent on frozen beef, mainly from the United States.
Focused on Getting it Done is a Nikkei report of August 9 highlighting the commitment of Australia and other remaining TPP countries to get the deal done this year.
TPP Issues for Congress is a 2013 paper on TPP by the Congressional Research Service, which is quite useful. .
Withdrawal Announced takes you to the President Memorandum of January 23, 2017, which announces and explains America’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Canada West is the website of the Canada West Foundation. The Foundation is based in Calgary, Alberta, the province’s largest city.
Originally published on August 21 as TTALK Quote No. 52 of 2017.
©2017 The Global Business Dialogue, Inc.