Citizen Action Monitor

Canadian Chamber of Commerce stupidly calls on Trudeau government to move quickly to ratify TPP

That’s ‘stupidity’, says Michael Geist, because TPP cannot take effect until both US and Japan are on board.

No 1614 Posted by fw, March 14, 2016

“The U.S. opposition makes it a near-certainty that it will not pass the TPP in 2016 and that the debate will certainly extend into 2017 and the election of a new president. Meanwhile, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, has said it is not her job to sell the TPP and made it very clear that the government will not commit to ratifying the TPP until it has conducted a full public consultation…. In response to these developments, business lobby groups such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have called on the government to move quickly to ratify the deal without regard for what happens in the U.S…. Assuming that not all countries ratify, the key requirement will be that at least six countries representing 85% of GDP of the original signatories have ratified. That effectively means that the TPP cannot take effect until both the U.S. and Japan are on board…. There is a very strong case against Canadian ratification of the TPP, but even if the government decides to move ahead, it must surely wait until it is certain that the deal will in fact come into force.”Michael Geist

The sentence in the above excerpt that jumped out at me is the last one with these opening words: “There is a very strong case against Canadian ratification of the TPP…”

Is Michael a one-person wrecking crew of the TPP? Could it be that his 49 penetrating analyses of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have convinced him this “Made in America” deal ain’t such a good deal after all? Perhaps it’s time for those of us opposed to this flawed trade deal to read all of Michael’s TPP posts.

To read Michael’s timely piece on his website, and also access all prior posts in his TPP series, click on the following linked title. Alternatively, below is a repost of his article.

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The Trouble With the TPP, Day 49: Why Canada Must Wait For the U.S. to Move on the TPP by Michael Geist, michaelgeist.ca, March 11, 2016

The TPP has emerged as a major political issue in the United States with presidential candidates such as Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders all expressing opposition or concern with the deal. Moreover, House Speaker Paul Ryan has said there are not sufficient votes to support passing the agreement. The U.S. opposition makes it a near-certainty that it will not pass the TPP in 2016 and that the debate will certainly extend into 2017 and the election of a new president. Meanwhile, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, has said it is not her job to sell the TPP and made it very clear that the government will not commit to ratifying the TPP until it has conducted a full public consultation.

In response to these developments, business lobby groups such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have called on the government to move quickly to ratify the deal without regard for what happens in the U.S. Yet the TPP’s implementation provisions are structured to provide little incentive for countries to move quickly without assurances that the U.S. plans to ratify. Article 30.5 establishes the rules for the TPP entering into force:

1. This Agreement shall enter into force 60 days after the date on which all original signatories have notified the Depositary in writing of the completion of their applicable legal procedures. 

2. In the event that not all original signatories have notified the Depositary in writing of the completion of their applicable legal procedures within a period of two years of the date of the signature of this Agreement, it shall enter into force 60 days after the expiry of this period if at least six of the original signatories, which together account for at least 85 per cent of the combined gross domestic product of the original signatories in 2013, have notified the Depositary in writing of the completion of their applicable legal procedures within this period. 

3. In the event that this Agreement does not enter into force under paragraph 1 or 2, it shall enter into force 60 days after the date on which at least six of the original signatories, which together account for at least 85 per cent of the combined gross domestic product of the original signatories in 2013, have notified the Depositary in writing of the completion of their applicable legal procedures.

Assuming that not all countries ratify, the key requirement will be that at least six countries representing 85% of GDP of the original signatories have ratified. That effectively means that the TPP cannot take effect until both the U.S. and Japan are on board.

Given that the TPP will require many legislative changes and create significant costs, it simply makes no sense to make those changes and incur the downside of the agreement without assurances that it will actually take effect. Ratification without assurances that the TPP will become a reality isn’t leadership. It’s stupidity. There is a very strong case against Canadian ratification of the TPP, but even if the government decides to move ahead, it must surely wait until it is certain that the deal will in fact come into force.

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