Citizen Action Monitor

Obama views Canada’s support for TPP as a done deal

Trudeau, however, maintained that a final decision will not be made ahead of planned parliamentary hearings.

No 1521 Posted by fw, November 20, 2015

“U.S. President Barack Obama says he expects Canada will sign on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite the fact the Liberal government has officially been non-committal on the trade deal. ‘We are both soon to be signatories to the TPP agreement,’ Mr. Obama, seated next to Mr. Trudeau in a small room, said following their first formal meeting. ‘That’s another area we can continue to have important discussions. I know Justin has to agree with what’s happened, but we think that after that process has taken place, Canada, the United States and the other countries that are here can establish the high-standards agreement that protects labour, protects the environment, protects the kind of high value-added goods and services that we both excel in.’”Bill Curry, Globe and Mail

Let's seal the deal with a kiss.

Let’s seal the deal with a kiss.

On a related note, Press Progress is asking, “What the heck is going on with the Trans-Pacific Partnership?” implying that Canadians are getting mixed messages from the Trudeau team regarding its promise for a “full and open” debate. The story, published yesterday, is worth a look.

And Roger Jordan, in his World Socialist Web Site article, made these shocking claims:

Obama’s rhetoric is a sham. The 12-country pact is the economic arm of Washington’s “Pivot to Asia,” a comprehensive military-strategic, diplomatic and economic drive to encircle, isolate, and prepare for war against China. Just before the APEC summit, Obama announced $250 million in additional maritime military aid to the South China Sea states that Washington has been inciting to press their territorial claims against Beijing.

Canada is deeply implicated in the “Pivot.” In late 2013, the Harper government struck a secret agreement with Washington for enhanced Canada-US military cooperation in the Asian Pacific. Canada has also been strengthening its military-security cooperation with US allies in the region, including by seeking to establish new forward military bases in Singapore and South Korea.

Trudeau and Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland have repeatedly proclaimed their support for “free trade.” However, for political reasons they have yet to endorse the TPP agreement….There is little doubt that Trudeau will soon give Obama what he wants in regards to the TPP. Apart from sections of the auto industry, Canadian big business is strongly behind the agreement as it is eager to gain access to Japanese markets and expand its presence in Southeast Asia, a region rich in natural resources and cheap labour. Significantly, Trudeau has announced that he will not allow a “free vote” on the TPP, making its passage a foregone conclusion after it has been approved by cabinet.

According to Philippine media reports, Trudeau pledged in a meeting with the country’s President, Benigno Aquino, that he would assist the Philippines to join the TPP, a clear indication that Canada’s position on the deal is already decided.

Facing growing opposition to TPP at home, Obama may be desperate to find allies to the trade deal abroad.

Returning to Bill Curry’s article, below is an abridged repost. To read the full text of his short story — which gives a passing nod to other aspects of the Obama-Trudeau conversation, including grey hair — click on the following linked title.

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Obama expects Canada to sign TPP despite Liberals’ reserved stance by Bill Curry, The Globe and Mail, November 19, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama says he expects Canada will sign on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite the fact the Liberal government has officially been non-committal on the trade deal.

“We are both soon to be signatories to the TPP agreement,” Mr. Obama, seated next to Mr. Trudeau in a small room, said following their first formal meeting.

“That’s another area we can continue to have important discussions. I know Justin has to agree with what’s happened, but we think that after that process has taken place, Canada, the United States and the other countries that are here can establish the high-standards agreement that protects labour, protects the environment, protects the kind of high value-added goods and services that we both excel in.”

The federal Liberal government has said that it is pro-trade but that any final decision will depend on the outcome of parliamentary hearings. However, the President’s remarks suggest he views Canada’s support as a done deal.

The TPP is a sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal that was agreed to by the former Conservative government during the federal election campaign. The text of the agreement was released on Nov. 5, the day after the swearing-in of Mr. Trudeau’s government.

Asked later about his position on the TPP, Mr. Trudeau maintained his government’s position that a final decision will not be made ahead of planned parliamentary hearings.

On the TPP, we look forward to hearing from Canadians about the concerns that they may have but also about the great opportunities that no doubt come with a deal with this, and we’re going to fulfill our obligations and remain resolute in being a pro-trade party,” he said. “As to the contents and the unfolding of that, it will be before Parliament and I won’t engage in hypotheticals.”

The meeting between the two leaders took place Thursday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Manila, where 21 countries are meeting to discuss the economy and trade, as well as the recent rise in global terrorism. The TPP involves 12 of the APEC countries, and excludes Russia and China.

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