Today, the Canada West Foundation and Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada released Western Canada’s Trade Agenda: TPP11 and beyond.

In this video, Carlo Dade, director of the Trade & Investment Centre, discusses the way forward for Canada, and the western provinces, on trade.

Canada’s trade future

The increasing uncertainty around the future of Canada’s trade with the U.S. has once again forced attention back to diversification to other markets – and Canada’s lack of progress under recent governments in opening Asia. While competitors like Australia, Chile and even the U.S. have made gains in key Asia-Pacific economies taking market share, Canada remains painfully overdependent on the U.S, with just one agreement in all of Asia. The western provinces account for one-third of Canada’s exports. These exports are in demand in the booming economies and rapidly growing middle classes of countries in Asia. Trade fights in North America and Europe are about holding on to, not growing, market share. For the West and Canada, the best near and long-term growth opportunities are in Asia.

This spring, the Canada West Foundation and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada convened trade experts in Vancouver to forge a list of trade priorities for western Canada and to shape the country’s national agenda. Today, we released a summary of the discussion, Western Canada’s Trade Agenda: TPP11 and beyond.

Among the ideas that emerged:

• The TPP11 should be a priority for Canada, alongside NAFTA and preparing to engage China.
• There is a vacuum of TPP11 communication and advocacy from the federal government – and associated danger the deal could slip away.
• Beyond the TPP11, Canada must be clear that Asia is its priority for growing into new markets and avoid distractions elsewhere around the globe.

With a crucial Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting and announcement by TPP11 countries coming in November, the country needs a clear commitment from the government in Ottawa that it will join in the TPP11 and open opportunities for Canadian companies in Asia.