Policy Analysis

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Part I: A deal too far

The release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement last fall has unleashed a heated debate over its costs and benefits. 

February 1, 2016

With the release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a debate has been growing over the so-called “trade” agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries.

Should governments ratify the deal? Will it expand trade in a significant way? Who will be the winners and losers?

But defining winners and losers only in trade terms misses the much broader impacts of the TPP and hide the basis required for assessing its real impacts. In effect, it ignores the fact that the TPP's non-trade provisions, such as in the areas of investment and intellectual proper rights, threaten to exacerbate inequality. 

It is time for Canada to say that this is a deal too far. Rather, Canada should use this as a jumping-off point to lead a new global dialogue on the right directions for trade agreements. Part 2 of this commentary will focus on how trade agreements should and can be instruments to support, rather than impede, achieving the globally adopted Sustainable Development Goals.

Policy Analysis details