Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday January 24, 2018
How the TPP deal injects a new dynamic at NAFTA talks
Canada’s decision to sign onto a major multinational trade agreement without the United States added a dramatic new wrinkle to the NAFTA process Tuesday just as negotiators gathered for a crucial bargaining round.
The new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement brings Canada into a new, sprawling trading bloc with standards not always obviously compatible with the goals of its superpower next-door neighbour.
It allows more content into automobiles from non-free-trade partners like China — at the very moment that the United States is trying to achieve the exact opposite in NAFTA, with tougher rules to keep out Chinese and other Asian parts.
Both supporters and detractors of the TPP pact predicted that this major liberalization of trade in auto parts with Asia will wind up at the NAFTA table somehow.
A Canadian auto-parts lobby group delivered a scathing reaction.
Flavio Volpe of Canada’s Auto Parts Manufacturers’ Association said the TPP agreement paves the way for more Chinese content in Canadian cars, at the moment Canada’s most important customer, the U.S., has made clear its goal of reducing Chinese imports.
He said it’s especially problematic in the midst of sensitive NAFTA negotiations.
“This could not be a dumber move at a more important time,” Volpe said in an interview. (Source: CTV)