Friday, May 1, 2015

Canada, U.S., at a standoff on TPP

Canada and the United States are at a temporary standoff in negotiations for the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Canada says it is waiting to see whether U.S. president Barrack Obama can gain approval for fast-track negotiating status – i.e. all or nothing as opposed to cherry-picking.

The U.S. says Canada has to make some significant concessions.

"The question of Canada's participation in the TPP — I think, really, that's something that's going to be up to Canada," Catherine Novelli, the U.S. undersecretary of state, told a media briefing.

"All the other countries are making very strong commitments, including on agriculture. Agriculture is always difficult, and we're all going to put on the table commitments. So the question is: what's the level of ambition that the Canadian government has?

"We would love to have Canada be part of the agreement ... I think that's a judgment the Canadian government's going to have to make."

She expressed hope the deal might be concluded soon, with a negotiating round scheduled in Guam for the last two weeks of May and a meeting of ministers in the Philippines May 26-28.