Trans Pacific Partnership: Ratification Required

May 4, 2016 - 6:51pm

By now you’ve likely read or heard about the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) in the news.  This world class 12 nation multilateral trade deal was negotiated & finalized by our government.

The conclusion of the agreement came in the midst of the 2015 election, so the work of ratifying this agreement after years of negotiation was turned over to the Liberals.  Like everything with Liberals, rather than taking action and implementing a trade agreement that will bolster Canada’s economy and provide new market access for our Canadian exporters, including farmers, ranchers, and small and medium sized businesses; the Liberals feel the need to dither, and hold endless “conversations” on whether to ratify the agreement.  

As the critic for International Trade and as a member of the Committee on International Trade that is currently conducting cross country tours consulting Canadians again, on the TPP, I find the dichotomy between those for and those against the TPP revealing.  

The naysayers parrot rehearsed lines they download, or hear in the media, but don’t have any real idea of why they are against the TPP.  Their negativity comes from fear, assumptions and gross exaggerations based on the misinformation they eagerly embrace.  These same individuals will not consider the negative economic impact not ratifying the TPP would have on Canada.  Our important role in global supply chains would be broken.

On the flip side, those in support of the TPP need to know when the government is planning to ratify so they can prepare and/or structure their businesses accordingly.  They are looking forward to the opportunities new trade will bring and eager to seek out new previously inaccessible markets.

Gaining market access through the TPP led both myself and the deputy trade critic, MP David Van Kesteren to Washington DC.   We met with the Mexican Trade Minister and New Zealand Ambassador; both countries indicated their eagerness to get the TPP ratified in their respective countries.  We met with members of congress and stakeholders from agricultural and manufacturing sectors who hope to see the TPP ratified during the lame duck presidency.  Due to the charged political atmosphere surrounding the presidential primaries, meetings with congressmen revealed most were unwilling to take a firm position on this trade pact that their own country initiated.  

 It is clear to me that this presents an opportunity for countries like Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand to take a leadership role on ratifying this important agreement, to put pressure on the U.S., and to ensure that the jobs and opportunities the TPP will bring to our respective countries become a reality.

Hon. Gerry Ritz, P.C., M.P.

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