The new trade deal being negotiated between a number of different countries, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), looks like it might finally be reaching an end. The U.S. and Japan hope to have finalized the deal by as early as next week. The partnership is between 12 different countries, from Chile to Japan, and the newly reached deal will surpass the North American free trade agreement in importance. Some have referred to this new TPP deal as a “global corporate take-over,” in that it will afford corporations even more power within the market.
One major worry with the TPP, is that it will allow corporations to push their products into the market regardless of legislation that is already in place to prevent such a move. For example, many countries have legislation in place that bans GMOs, and this new deal would allow for corporations like Monsanto to sue nations, if those countries refuse to let the GMO products enter the market. Under the TPP, the corporation will be able to sue because they can argue that they are subjected to a loss in profits, because of the regulations in place to try and prevent the sale of these items.
There is also growing concern for the TPP because the agreement will lower domestic content rules for things like vehicles and car parts, and this will override rules in the NAFTA that many believe have protected Canadian auto jobs for many years. One Unifor economist is estimating that this new agreement could result in the loss of as many as 26,000 Canadian auto jobs alone. That is those that are involved with both assembling and parts-making. Under the NAFTA agreement, Canada along with Mexico and the U.S., must have at least 60 per cent of cars and auto parts made within the NAFTA zone in order for those items to enter the markets tariff-free. Some fear that this new agreement will allow for many jobs in this area then to be lost, as we will no longer need those jobs to meet the 60 per cent auto-part demand in the NAFTA zone.
If the auto parts can be made in other countries at a better price, then perhaps we should let those companies do what they are good at, and Canada can instead focus on its own strengths and what it's good at. The more pressing worry with the new TPP agreement is not the potential for re-arranging labor to be sent overseas, but the potential for a variety of lawsuits to be initiated from numerous corporations against the countries involved with the partnership. Ontario's own economic development minister has called the deal “reckless and shameful,” for the way that bureaucrats have gone about conducting these negotiations in “back rooms,” and for not informing the public on what's at stake.
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