In a formal response to an invitation extended in June, Canada has officially joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The government of Canada says the move will “help create jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity.”
After undergoing the requisite review of its domestic trade policies, Canada has joined the other 10 countries already signed on to the trade pact. The 11 nations now comprising the TPP are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States. This trading bloc has united to establish “a comprehensive free trade agreement across the region.”
In his statement formally welcoming Canada to the TPP, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said:
Inviting Canada to join the TPP negotiations presents a unique opportunity for the United States to build upon this already dynamic trading relationship. Through TPP, we are bringing the relationship with our largest trading partner into the 21st century. We look forward to continuing consultations with the Congress and domestic stakeholders regarding Canada’s entry into the TPP as we move closer to a broad-based, high-standard trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region.
Notably, in both statements Ambassador Kirk places the approval of “domestic stakeholders” (read: large corporations) on a level with that of the Congress. It is precisely this exalting of big business that has troubled many of the people’s representatives in Congress, as well as the as yet impenetrable wall of secrecy surrounding the drafting of the TPP treaty.
Zach Carter of the Huffington Post reported that Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, was stonewalled by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) when he attempted to see any of the draft documents related to the governance of the TPP.
In response to this rebuff, Wyden proposed a measure in the Senate that would force transparency on the process and that was enough to convince the USTR to grant the senator a peek at the documents, though his staff was not permitted to peruse them.
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