Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada will not sacrifice its agricultural supply management and agricultural tariffs to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, his spokesman said Thursday.
Andrew MacDougall, the prime minister's communication director, told a briefing that Canada supports the system, which protects egg, poultry and milk producers from domestic and foreign competition through production quotas.
He did not say what Canada will bring to the negotiation sessions during Harper's South America trip, which started Saturday at Summit of the Americas in Colombia.
We go to the negotiating table and that is where we do our work, said Mr. MacDougall. We do not say that we will give away things before we go there. That makes no sense.
So far, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. While Canada has requested admission to the talks, Canadian entry has been blocked by the United States and New Zealand.
The 2 countries want Canada to drop its supply management system, which is extremely popular with the country's farmers. The Canadian dairy industry is one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country.
The Canadian government supports supply management, said Mr. MacDougall. The prime minister has been clear that Canada does not negotiate away things to get to the table. The whole point of a negotiation is to be at the table, to have negotiations.
Mr. MacDougall said senior officials defend Canada's interest in all free trade negotiations.
In every one of those trade negotiations, we seek to find the best deal for Canada that protects Canada's interests. And that would be no different with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We are just not going to take things off the table just to get to the table, he said.
Mr. Harper will arrive in Chile Monday, where he is likely to push for Canadian involvement in negotiations to establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is expected to become 1 of the World's most important free trade agreements.
Since coming to power in Y 2006, Mr. Harper's government has been negotiating free trade deals with Caribbean and Latin American countries. It is also negotiating trade deals with the European Union, India and Japan.
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr.
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels.