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Trans-Pacific Partnership Talks Headed For Finish Line Amid Official Secrecy

Published: October 4, 2013
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Source: Huffington Post

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Trade Minister Ed Fast are headed to Malaysia and Indonesia this week, and one of the main issues on their agenda is a trade deal that would cover one-third of the world’s international commerce.

But what the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will contain is so far a matter of rumour, conjecture and guesswork — nowhere more so than in Canada, where the government has kept a tight lid on news coming out of the talks.

Negotiations on the TPP, covering 12 Pacific Rim countries including Canada, are expected to be completed by the end of the year. Kyodo News reports that officials from the negotiating countries will issue a statement next week announcing negotiations are headed for the finish line. Along with Canada and the U.S., negotiating countries include Australia, Japan and Mexico, but not China.

The Financial Times describes the TPP as being “billed as a 21st century trade deal aimed at setting new high standards for future agreements.” But critics, such as the Council of Canadians, say it sets a new standard for prioritizing “corporate rights” over the rights of consumers.

Particularly worrying for some consumers’ advocates are reports that the deal will force participating countries to significantly tighten controls over the internet.

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