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Canada slows down TPP 11, but a deal remains possible

Government’s decision demonstrates citizens’ pressure is working and that they are willing to re-evaluate before moving forward with the new deal

Leaders from 11 of the original signatories of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) gathered in Vietnam this week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit where revival of the TPP without the U.S. was central to the discussions. Today, the 11 countries have failed to sign the new deal, with rumours that Canada was the roadblock to an agreement, particularly focused on changes to sections regarding automotive, agriculture, culture and intellectual property.

OpenMedia is encouraged by today’s delay, but remains concerned that negotiations around a deal negotiated in secrecy, in the best interest of the U.S., and that faces clear opposition from Canadians, continues to be a focal point for the government’s trade agenda.

While it’s a slight relief to see the Canadian government take a step back from rushing into signing a relabelled version of the original TPP, the threat for a future agreement remains very real. Canadians have been speaking out against the TPP since day one and the most recent consultation just exacerbates the need for the government to stop, listen to its citizens and actually incorporate their views rather than use public consultations as a mere PR strategy to appease its constituents.

The original TPP was a U.S.-centric agreement negotiated behind closed doors that posed a significant threat to the free and open Internet. While ensuring Canadians best interests are reflected in the deal is a good step, it’s not enough. This is an opportunity for the Canadian government to shift the course of the negotiations and embrace a fully transparent process, by starting from scratch, rather than putting band aids on the former deal. This is also an opportunity for the government to fulfill its commitment to “progressive trade” and restore citizens’ trust in public institutions.

In advance of the summit, the Canadian government ran a consultation on the TPP 11, which closed on October 30. Over 11,000 members of OpenMedia’s community participated in the consultation, calling for the deal to be scrapped based on its negative impact for the future of our Internet, and the opaque negotiation practices that created the deal in the first place.

Although Canada may still sign the deal down the line, today’s decision signals a step in the right direction. A change in the course of the TPP negotiations will set a strong precedent for how we negotiate other trade agreements like NAFTA and set the tone for the future of our Asia-Pacific relations.

Canadians can join the fight against the TPP 11 and demand a transparent and democratic trade process at:

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