Harper gov­ern­ment hopes TPP deal is signed be­fore elec­tion cam­paign kick­off

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The Con­ser­va­tives are anx­iously hop­ing to sign off on a mas­sive free-trade deal be­fore kick­ing off an elec­tion cam­paign that’s ex­pected to start as early as Sun­day.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment is at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble in Hawaii, where Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship talks are re­port­edly in their fi­nal stages for a deal that could have po­lit­i­cal im­pli­ca­tions dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign.

With vot­ing day set for Oct. 19, the gov­ern­ing Tories want to launch the cam­paign with the deal in hand — an agree­ment they could bran­dish as ev­i­dence of their eco­nomic stew­ard­ship.

The part­ner­ship, a pact be­tween 12 coun­tries in­clud­ing Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Ja­pan, is poised to be­come the big­gest trade deal in history once rat­i­fied. The gov­ern­ment says the coun­tries rep­re­sent some 800 mil­lion peo­ple with a com­bined gross do­mes­tic prod­uct of roughly 40 per cent of the world’s econ­omy.

Just as a deal could be a boon to Con­ser­va­tive cam­paign for­tunes, how­ever, a de­lay could cause them headaches. If talks stretch past the start of the cam­paign, ex­perts say they could prove po­lit­i­cally del­i­cate.

In par­tic­u­lar, Canada is un­der pres­sure from other coun­tries to lower the high tar­iffs that cur­rently pro­tect do­mes­tic pro­duc­ers of eggs, milk, cheese and poul­try from for­eign com­pe­ti­tion un­der a sys­tem known as sup­ply man­age­ment.

In an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day with Bloomberg, Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper in­sisted the gov­ern­ment will de­fend the in­ter­ests of ev­ery Cana­dian in­dus­try “as best we can.’’

Harper also said the ne­go­ti­a­tions were “well ad­vanced’’ and that Canada “can­not be left out of this kind of trade ar­range­ment.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.