Canada, Mexico invited to join nations holding talks

Article by Anita Panait, on June 21, 2012

Leading auto companies in the United States are heavily opposing Japan’s request to join nations holding talks to approve a trade pact in the Pacific region. Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler LLC do not want Japan to be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, saying that the nation's car market needs to be more open to global competition.

Texas Representative Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee trade panel, remarked that new entrants to the talks "must not lower the ambition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership or delay its conclusion." According to Brady, setting high standards would allow the agreement to give its participants leverage when dealing with countries including India and China, thereby encouraging them to abide by similar rules.

Meanwhile, Canada and Mexico were invited to join the nine nations holding the talks. In a statement issued at the Group of 20 summit, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the agreement will enhance trade in the Asia-Pacific region and will provide greater economic opportunity for Canadians and Canadian businesses. Harper said Canada will enter the talks "at the earliest opportunity."

The entry of Canada and Mexico would make the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement the largest trade accord for the United States, as it links North American Free Trade Agreement partners with eight Pacific-region nations.  Brady called on Congress to grant the White House a fast-track authority to discuss accords subject to vote by lawmakers.

Brady remarked that if the Pacific accord is completed quickly, they “have to be prepared to consider it in Congress when that time comes." Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas in Washington, said that including Mexico and Canada in the agreement would benefit manufacturing supply networks already established in North America.

Topics: canada, mexico

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