NAFTA Partners Deserve Quick Entry into TPP Talks

Kezia McKeague, Americas Quarterly , 4/4/12

Assembled in the White House Rose Garden for a joint press conference on Monday, the “three amigos” of North America projected an image of trilateral comity in keeping with the depth of their countries’ relationships.

Yet Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper departed the one-day North American Leaders’ Summit without a firm commitment from U.S. President Barack Obama on their request to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Buried in the penultimate line of the lengthy joint statement was a coy response: “The United States welcomes Canada’s and Mexico’s interest in joining the TPP as ambitious partners.”

As President Obama acknowledged in the Rose Garden, TPP’s high-standards approach “could be a real model for the world.” Indeed, the goal of the original four TPP members—Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore—was to create a uniquely comprehensive agreement to which like-minded countries on both sides of the Pacific could accede, thus linking Asia and the Americas.

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