I support trade liberalization – but I don’t believe in trickle down benefits. But support requires more than blind faith. Trade deals must be sold to increasingly skeptical voters by demonstrating that there will be benefits and real gains for participants.
The overly secretive TPP comes up short. For all its hype, it is far from clear what Canada will gain – the costs in meeting U.S. demands are much more clear. Can autoworkers be assured that the great sucking sound from Mexico will not become louder as Canada loses more jobs and investment? But that will happen without TPP. And here lies the problem in selling trade liberalization.
There are, of course, winners and there will be losers – at any given point in time. But gains can be reversed and reversed rapidly by changes in technology, currency movements, consumer taste shifts and the impacts of cyber business.