Successive Canadian governments have claimed that trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership were necessary to build Canada’s economy. Long-standing concerns about the impact on labour standards, environmental regulations and the ability of federal and provincial governments to engage in economic development have been dismissed.
Recently, however, a new concern has emerged.
In a Globe and Mail article, the Chair of Innovation Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto suggests that the TPP will harm innovation and entrepreneurship. The combination of increased protection for intellectual property and criminalizing violations will make it far harder for new businesses.
Similar concerns were expressed by Research in Motion founder Jim Balsillie, who argued that the intellectual property provisions in the TPP will restrict the growth of Canadian technology firms and cost the Canadian economy billions of dollars.
Backers of trade agreements like the TPP have traditionally argued that these agreements contribute to economic growth. That makes the concerns about the impact of the TPP on innovation and entrepreneurship all the more serious.