Once ratified by member nations, the agreement will take several years to come into force. Brander adds that, because the American and Canadian economies are so intricately interwoven, if the U.S. joins, Canada should join; if it backs out, Canada should follow suit.
The pharmaceutical industry could see significant changes, extending U.S.-style intellectual property protection to countries such as Vietnam, Peru and other low income TPP members. The result would likely be higher drug prices in those countries.
“There will still be a lot of individual discretion and flexibility from country to country, but the basic idea is to increase harmonization of drug patent protection,” he explains. “This helps the U.S., where most drug companies are based, but could also help other countries by increasing incentives for companies to make new drugs available throughout the region.”
When it comes to the environment, Brander expects to see stronger links between international trade and environmental performance on everything from overfishing to greenhouse gas emissions — and unlike previous deals, they would be subject to dispute resolution.
“Teeth is too strong a word. Maybe baby teeth,” says Brander with a
laugh about his expectations for the strength of the dispute mechanisms
in the agreement. “It’s more than previously existed for environmental
issues, but not as much as people were hoping for.”
Despite public concerns over the deal, Brander says its
impact on Canada will be relatively minimal; and because two of the
world’s largest economies, China and India, are not signatories, it has
significant limits. Still, anything that helps minimize trade conflicts
and promotes economic development will likely benefit Canada in the long
“Canada has a stake in the performance of the overall
world economy — and not only in GDP growth, but in the environment and
world health,” says Brander. “So I think the main effect on Canada will
be through the impact on global trading, and the international