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Canada抯 TPP Engagement Continues with Minister Fast-led Visits to Malaysia, Singapore and BruneiMonday, February 13, 2012 > 12:56:28
Following Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s successful trade mission to China, where several agreements were reached that will deepen the trade and investment ties between Canada and China, the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and Canadian officials continue to indicate Canada’s interest in joining the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP is a free trade agreement under negotiation by nine countries. Since Prime Minister Harper announced Canada’s formal interest in joining the TPP negotiations at the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in November 2011, Minister Fast has held meetings with his counterparts from all nine TPP countries (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam). From February 12 to February 15, the Minister will be visiting the capitals of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei for further TPP-focused meetings as part of official visits scheduled with all TPP member countries. Canadian officials are also meeting with their TPP counterparts, including, today, with their U.S. colleagues in Washington, D.C.
“Canada’s interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership is consistent with our government’s active and ongoing engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and commitment to free and open trade,” said Minister Fast. “In my meetings with my TPP-member counterparts, I’m pleased that Canada’s interest in joining the talks has been positively received.”
In December 2011, President Obama said, “I’m pleased that Canada has expressed an interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” On December 7, 2011, the United States published a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments on Canada’s potential membership in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
Recognizing that Canada’s participation in the TPP would enhance jobs and prosperity in the United States, stakeholder submissions to the U.S. Federal Register process strongly supported Canada’s inclusion in the TPP. An estimated eight million jobs in the United States depend on trade with Canada. Northern and eastern states in particular rely on Canada for up to 50% of their total trade, and Canada accounts for more than 900,000 jobs in California and 600,000 jobs in Texas. Approximately $1.8 billion in goods and services cross the Canada-U.S. border every day, or about $1.2 million every minute.
“We are very pleased that the response of U.S. stakeholders to the Federal Register request has been overwhelmingly supportive of Canada’s inclusion in the negotiations,” said Minister Fast. “More than 91% of the submissions supported Canada’s membership in the TPP. This is a clear recognition by U.S. stakeholders that as each other’s largest trading partners, and with our integrated economies that support millions of jobs on both sides of our shared border, Canada’s inclusion in the TPP is critical to ensuring the future prosperity of both our countries.”
In the past few years, Canada has initiated aggressive expansion of commercial relations with the Asia-Pacific region. Other initiatives in the region include:
• the conclusion of negotiations toward a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement between Canada and China, announced last week during Prime Minister Harper’s visit;
• the study being done in the Canada-China Economic Partnership Working Group on areas where the two economies are complementary; the study will be completed by May 2012, after which Canada and China will proceed to exploratory discussions on deepening trade and economic relations;
• the adoption of the Joint Declaration on Trade and Investment with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to increase Canada’s trade and investment ties in the region; and
• a joint economic study with Japan on a possible economic partnership agreement.
Canada’s trade with APEC economies grew from $374.6 billion in 1994 to $654.4 billion in 2010, an average annual growth rate of 3.5%.
Canada also recently approved the issuance of a 20-year licence to export liquefied natural gas from Kitimat, British Columbia, to the Asia-Pacific region. This initiative will allow Canada to diversify its energy exports to growing markets in the Asia-Pacific region, further strengthening its trading partnerships with Asian economies.
In less than six years, Canada has concluded new free trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru, the European Free Trade Association member states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, and, most recently, with Honduras. Canada has also launched trade negotiations with India, which is one of the largest markets in the world.