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Today, in cooperation with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and ENsight Canada, we hosted an event in Ottawa that brought together Canadian, Australian, American and Japanese business representatives to voice their support for the conclusion of an ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that would form the basis of expanded trade links in the Asia Pacific.

By removing trade barriers across 40% of the global economy, this agreement holds significant potential to grow trade and investment throughout the region and it will help Canadian companies strengthen their links with rising economies in Asia.

Launched in 2005, the TPP now includes 12 countries: Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, United States, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Canada and Japan. Their chief negotiators are in Ottawa from July 3 to 12 to discuss outstanding issues in the talks.

Disappointing progress at the multilateral level means the TPP represents the best chance to evolve global trade rules in a way that reflects the changes to business models that have come with rising economic integration and the spread of complex supply chains. It also represents a valuable opportunity for Canadian companies to gain a foothold in Asian economies.

For the TPP’s benefits to be realized, it needs to be ambitious in both scope and depth. This means comprehensive market access for goods and services, liberal rules of origin to facilitate production over multiple countries, strong protections for cross-border investment and intellectual property and deep commitments on regulatory cooperation.

The TPP should also ensure private companies do not face unfair competition from state-owned enterprises and it should establish rules governing the free movement of data for business purposes. While the high degree of ambition sought by the negotiating parties has made the negotiations difficult at times, the successful conclusion of an ambitious agreement is imperative.

We can’t afford to let the opportunity of the TPP fall by the wayside. But we also can’t be hasty and conclude an agreement that brings little in the way of benefits. We hope the meeting of the negotiators will help them develop a road map that can soon be presented to the countries’ respective Trade Ministers.

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