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Canada, Pacific Alliance Begin Free Trade Talks

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

23 October 2017

A first round of free trade negotiations is underway between Canada and the Pacific Alliance.

The talks are taking place between October 23 and October 27, in Colombia. The negotiations seek to confirm Canada as an Associated State of the Pacific Alliance.

Canada is currently an observer country. It is the only observer country with a joint declaration on partnership, which identifies six areas for cooperation. Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore have each been invited to become Associate Members.

According to the Canadian Government, a free trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance offers the opportunity to modernize and streamline existing bilateral agreements with the four Alliance countries – Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Canada also hopes to expand key aspects of these agreements, and to include "progressive trade elements, such as gender, labor, the environment, and SMEs."

Canada's International Trade Minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne, said: "On my recent trips to Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, I was very excited by the untapped potential for trade between Canada and the Pacific Alliance countries, with their growing middle classes and open, market-driven economies."

"We share a goal of greater regional economic integration, and freer, more progressive trade that can help create more middle-class jobs and opportunities. This new step represents a strategic opportunity for Canada to advance its ambitious progressive and diversified trade agenda with important and like-minded emerging markets."

Canada's total merchandise trade with the Pacific Alliance member countries was worth CAD48bn (USD38bn) in 2017. The four countries of the Alliance account for more than 75 percent of Canada's two-way trade with the whole Latin American region.

TAGS: environment | tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | Chile | export duty | trade treaty | Australia | Colombia | Mexico | Singapore | agreements | small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) | Canada | New Zealand | import duty | trade

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