An Opinion: The Commonwealth, a positive alternative to the TPP.
Why has Canada not taken the lead as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership by championing a deal within the 53 nation Commonwealth that would be twice the size of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? We could have been actively trading with the other 52 nations well before this. This would have given us a much bigger advantage, globally, when it came time to sign a deal like the Trans-Pacific Partnership where there are only 6 Commonwealth nations, namely:Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Canada.
Fact is, Stephen Harper is a follower, not a leader.
Canada need not be in the shadow of other countries. If Stephen Harper had shown initiative, we would currently be enjoying the advantage of dealing with 2.3 billion people in the Commonwealth, as opposed to a mere 800 million in the TPP. With the signing of the TPP, Canada only has a meagre 5% of the action.
A Commonwealth deal would give us a great deal more of the action. Canada is the best situated country in the world, with its free trade agreement with the U.S.A. and Mexico, and its membership in the 53 member Commonwealth of Nations which has over 2.3 billion people.
English is a language which is used and followed across the Commonwealth countries. Most of the local laws are derived from British law. These countries, therefore, are natural markets for co-operation. Emerging economies such as India, South Africa, Malaysia, Kenya, Nigeria, Brunei, Pakistan and Bangladesh are also in the Commonwealth.
Dealing with Commonwealth countries would give Canadian companies far greater access to the countries that account for over 40 percent of World Trade Organization(WTO) membership, and a combined GDP of over $10 trillion. There is over $3 trillion of trade between Commonwealth countries every year. Fifty percent of the Commonwealth countries export more than 25 percent of their total exports to other members, presenting an inherent strength in doing business together.
The Commonwealth charter ensures that Commonwealth countries have a common framework of values that include promotion of good governance, the rule of law, and free trade - among others. This gives us an excellent framework for doing business.
Commonwealth countries such as Australia, the U.K., New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Canada were in the top 10 countries listed for ease in incorporating a new company and who live without unnecessary rules and regulations.
It is time for a greater vision and a much broader scope which would mean a much stronger future for Canada, a Canada that can be a world leader in innovation and initiative.
This world opportunity awaits us.
The Hon. Sinclair Stevens,
Leader, PC Party