ATLANTA – Twelve countries, including Canada, have agreed to create the world’s largest regional trade zone.
After five days of marathon, around-the-clock negotiations, a deal has been reached to create the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would cover 40 per cent of the world’s economy.
The proposed agreement reduces or eliminates barriers in a wide range of sectors and could lead to more Canadian exports of pork, beef, canola, high-tech machinery and a variety of other products.
It also entrenches new international trade standards in Asia, setting a template should any other countries in that fast-growing region — like China — want to join someday.
Other parts will be controversial in Canada. Cars will be allowed without tariffs, as long as they have 45-per-cent content from the TPP region — lower than the 62.5 per cent regional-content provision under NAFTA.
Canada’s protected dairy sector remains mostly intact, with a modest increase in permitted imports for supply-managed sectors. Farmers will be compensated for losses through a multibillion-dollar series of programs.
The deal needs to be ratified in national parliaments — and the NDP’s recent opposition to the TPP process is an early example of the political challenges in could face, in several countries.
But voters can’t yet see the fine print. The actual text of the deal is undergoing a legal review, and it’s not clear when it will be available.