In the August 12, 2017 Canada Gazette, Global Affairs Canada announced that the Government is seeking the views of the Canadian public and interested Canadian stakeholders on the scope of potential negotiations regarding a possible Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Pacific Alliance (whose members are Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru). Global Affairs says that such views will help define Canada’s interests in a possible FTA, identify opportunities for such an agreement to create wealth, innovation and jobs for Canadians and determine how best to proceed in this initiative.
Canada has observer status with the Pacific Alliance. On June 29, 2017, at its Council of Ministers meeting attended by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, the Pacific Alliance invited certain observer states (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore) to become Associate Members. Associate Membership requires the negotiation of a comprehensive free trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance as a bloc.
The Pacific Alliance is commercially significant for Canadian exporters and investors, as it is the tenth largest economy in the world, when considered collectively. Canada’s total merchandise trade with the Pacific Alliance member countries reached $48 billion in 2016. These four countries together account for more than 75% of Canada’s two-way trade with the whole Latin American region. Canada’s two-way services trade with the Pacific Alliance members accounted for $4.7 billion in 2015.
Canada already has comprehensive stand-alone free trade agreements with each of the four members of the Alliance, and deepening our commercial relationship with Alliance members supports Canada’s interests in further diversifying trade and strengthening links in Latin America. Negotiations on an FTA with the Pacific Alliance as a bloc offers the opportunity to build links between overlapping bilateral agreements that would otherwise operate independently (e.g. cross-cumulation), as well as modernize and expand elements of existing bilateral agreements, including improving legal certainty and transparency for Canadian businesses, as well as to seek improved market access and to consider new progressive trade elements, such as trade and gender, environmental protection and conservation, labour rights and transparency. This consultation is also intended to ensure the Government is aware of any other interests or issues of importance to Canadians regarding trade and investment with the Pacific Alliance, in the context of possible FTA negotiations.
Additional information is available at the “Consulting Canadians on a Possible Canada–Pacific Alliance Free Trade Agreement” webpage.
All interested parties are invited to submit their views by September 10, 2017.