Ottawa on free trade push

Analysts see diversification away from U.S.

The Harper government is in a flurry of activity signing up Canada for trade negotiations with a number of countries in a bid to diversify the economy away from the U.S. On Monday, the CBC reports, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada intends to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks to pursue a broad preferential trade agreement with Asia-Pacific countries including Australia, Chile, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The announcement follows a veiled warning from Harper to U.S. President Barack Obama last week that Canada would seek to step up energy exports to Asia. The remark was seen as a diplomatic jab in response to Washington’s flip-flopping on the Keystone XL pipeline. Also, on Tuesday the Globe and Mail reports that the federal government tabled bills seeking to boost trade with Panama and Jordan. The Globe suggested the move means the government has an “every-bit-counts approach” to trade liberalization and diversification.

The Globe and Mail

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