BUSINESS

In The Age Of Trump, Canadians Have Changed Their Minds About The TPP

A majority now back the 11-country trade deal.

11/03/2017 11:37 EDT | Updated 11/03/2017 15:46 EDT
Jason Reed / Reuters
The first session of the three-day Trans Pacific Partnership senior leaders' meeting begins in Sydney, Australia, Aug. 28. A new poll finds that, for the first time, a majority of Canadians backs the TPP.

The trade deal declared dead after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from it earlier this year looks to be very much alive, and now it has the backing of a majority of Canadians.

For years Canadians expressed misgivings about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, what was then a 12-country agreement to create the world's largest free trade area.

But with Donald Trump in the White House, and the U.S. officially out of the deal, the now 11-country trade agreement looks appealing to many more people.

Angus Reid Institute

Fully 59 per cent of Canadians are now on board with the trade deal, according to a new poll from Angus Reid.

That's nearly twice the 32 per cent support the trade deal had the last time Angus Reid asked, in January of 2016.

"Canadians are increasingly interested in securing markets for trade outside of the United States," the Angus Reid Institute said on its blog.

"More than half say that Canada should focus on developing closer trade ties with the Pacific Rim nations, rather than emphasizing the traditional relationship this country holds with the United States."

Watch: TPP countries discuss amendments to stalled trade deal

Though many declared the TPP dead after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the trade deal, the 11 remaining countries agreed among themselves to continue with the process.

Talks among the "TPP 11" will resume on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Danang, Vietnam, next week.

"The momentum towards (an agreement) at the meeting in Danang has significantly increased," Japan's chief TPP negotiator, Kazuyoshi Umemoto, was quoted as saying.

Jason Reed / Reuters
Trade ministers from TPP countries at a news conference at the end of the a TPP meeting in Sydney, Australia, Oct. 27, 2014. The TPP has been under negotiations for a decade.

But according to news reports, plenty remains to be agreed upon. Many sections of the deal that had been previously agreed could be suspended, including some that had been pushed for by the U.S.

Among the contentious issues reportedly still to be worked out are:

  • The investor-state dispute settlement mechanism that would allow businesses to sue TPP governments if they feel that government broke investment rules
  • Stricter copyright rules that for Canada would mean an expansion of copyright terms
  • Various labour and environmental protections -- an innovation that had not been seen in previous trade agreements, but that is opposed by some of the developing countries involved

Along with Canada, the TPP 11 include Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The Angus Reid survey also found that half (51 per cent) of respondents say joining the deal is worth the risk of retaliation from the U.S. Only 15 per cent say it's not worth angering our southern neighbour, and the rest are undecided.

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Uncertainty about jobs


A majority of respondents in the new poll (51 per cent) said the deal would mean more consumer choice, and 55 per cent said it would benefit Canada's economy.

But Canadians are less certain about the impact on jobs. Only 28 per cent said the deal would have a positive impact on jobs in their area. Seventeen per cent said it would be negative, and 55 per cent were unsure.

The poll sampled 1.504 adult Canadians between Oct. 24 and Oct. 27. It has a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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