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While still controversial in some quarters they are now a given in any significant trade agreement.
This section has given a brief overview of the changed nature of commerce that a 21st century trade agreement needs to address if it is to be relevant to how business is conducted in 2016.
Countries are vying with each other to complete free trade agreements with their partners that will give their suppliers preferential access to these markets. Looking at this phenomenon the WTO has noted6, "Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) have become increasingly prevalent since the early 1990s.
As of 1 February 2016, some 625 notifications of RTAs (counting goods, services and accessions separately) had been received by the GATT/WTO. These WTO figures correspond to 454 physical RTAs (counting goods, services and accessions together), of which 267 are currently in force." Many trade agreements have not been notified to the WTO, including at this point the TPP.
This effort has culminated in an agreement which has now been signed, but not ratified, by the 12 governments that participated in the negotiations1.In addition, disciplines on intellectual property rights have become a critical component in the conduct of international business in 2016.The following facts help to flesh out the context within which Canada is now considering whether to support the TPP and ratify it.To understand the significance of the TPP for Canada it is necessary to look at it in a broader global context. It looks at what joining, or not joining, the TPP would mean for Canada.But first it looks at the changed landscape of economic integration in which the TPP was crafted and the contemporary network of international trade agreements of which the TPP is a part.