Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Prime Minister Stephen Harper talks with U.S. President Barack Obama during a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, on Tuesday.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The federal government is right to take part in negotiations for the most ambitious free trade bloc in the world: the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

If successful, the TPP would give Canada access to a market of 510 million people and a gross domestic product of $17.6-trillion, in a number of buoyant emerging economies in Asia, Oceania and the Americas.

The current members of the TPP negotiations are the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Chile, Peru and Mexico, this last nation having been invited to join on Monday at the G20 summit in Los Cabos.

Story continues below advertisement

Ideally, Prime Minister Stephen Harper would have shown some willingness much earlier to eliminate the supply management system that protects Canada's poultry and dairy farmers; his initial refusal to do so kept Canada out of earlier rounds of TPP negotiations. The dairy lobby is largely situated in Quebec, where the Conservatives have only five seats. Mr. Harper still insisted on Tuesday in Los Cabos that Canada stands by its strong commitment to defending the dairy sector in trade talks.

However, it is clear that agricultural protectionism is simply no match for the benefits of trade liberalization. Canada's traditional export markets – the U.S. and Europe – are stagnant, while East Asian and Latin American economies are booming.

The goal of the TPP is to eliminate all tariffs on goods and services among participating countries, as well as negotiate freer government procurement; better intellectual property protection; increased regulatory coherence; and labour and environmental rights.

That means that by joining the regional trade bloc, Canada can not only deepen its engagement with Asia but also update and modernize the North American free-trade agreement without having to reopen it.

With Canada and the U.S. at the TPP negotiating table, the potential trade market increases to 658 million people with a GDP of $20-trillion. That is a club worth belonging to – and bolsters Mr. Harper's laudable goal of broadening trade partnerships around the world.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies