Good afternoon, Mr. Chair. I am pleased to be here today to provide the members of the committee with an update on three trade initiatives: the Pacific Alliance, Mercosur, and the trade in services agreement.
I'm joined by my colleague, Darren Smith, Canada's chief negotiator for the TISA. I'm Ana Renart. I'm the director general for market access at Global Affairs Canada.
Following my remarks, I would be happy to provide further details and answer any questions you may have.
I will start with the Pacific Alliance, a regional initiative created in 2011 by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru that seeks the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. With a combined GDP of $2.3 billion and a total population of more than 220 million, the Pacific Alliance represents a considerable market for Canada.
Canada welcomed the invitation in June 2017 to become an associated state in the Pacific Alliance, a process that involves the negotiation of a comprehensive free trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance as a bloc. Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are the first to be invited by the Pacific Alliance to become associated states.
Canada already enjoys the benefits of FTAs with all four Pacific Alliance countries. A free trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance as a bloc offers the prospect for some improved market access, as well as streamlining our existing agreements, improving disciplines in areas such as services and investment, as well as potentially including new progressive trade elements, such as chapters on trade and gender and small and medium-sized enterprises.
This is also a strategic opportunity for Canada to advance our progressive trade agenda with important and like-minded emerging markets in South America. The first round of negotiations took place in Cali, Colombia the week of October 23, 2017, and a second round is planned for the end of January 2018, hosted by Australia.
Staying in South America, Mercosur is a trading bloc and customs union consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Initial exploratory discussions were originally launched with Mercosur in 2011. Several meetings were held, but a decision was ultimately made not to proceed at that time as the climate in some of the Mercosur countries was not conducive to further opening trade. Recent political changes in the region, however, particularly in Brazil and Argentina, have spurred increased interest in trade for Mercosur with Canada.
Since early 2017, Canadian officials and their counterparts from the various Mercosur countries have sought to reassess the potential for an FTA. On October 9, 2017, international trade minister François-Philippe Champagne and Mercosur's pro tempore president, Brazil's foreign affairs minister Aloysio Nunes, issued a joint statement on the margins of the WTO mini-ministerial conference in Marrakesh in which they committed to advancing the exploratory discussions.
If launched, FTA negotiations could enhance market access for Canadian exporters in a number of industrial sectors, including pharmaceuticals, aluminum, machinery and equipment, information and telecommunications technology, and automobiles. On average, from 2014 to 2016 Canada exported $2.6 billion in merchandise to Mercosur annually.
FTA negotiations with Mercosur would also allow Canada to further advance its progressive trade agenda in the region.
Finally, the trade in services agreement, or TISA, is a services-trade-only agreement currently being negotiated by 23 members of the World Trade Organization, including Canada.
TISA parties represent an enormous services market of almost two-thirds of the world's economy, with more than 1.6 billion people and a combined GDP of nearly $50 trillion in 2015. TISA shows a great diversity of participants, with countries such as Australia, Chile, Chinese Taipei, the EU, Hong Kong, China, Israel, Japan, Mauritius, Pakistan, and the U.S.
Canada is one of the world's largest services exporters, and services make a significant contribution to our economic prosperity. This is why an agreement like TISA is of great importance to Canada.
Canada's priorities in the TISA are to create new opportunities for Canadian services suppliers, particularly in emerging markets, and to improve overall transparency and predictability in international regulations related to trade and services. While good progress has been made, the TISA is currently on hold as members await a decision from the current U.S. administration regarding its position on engaging or not in this negotiation.
Mr. Chair, that was a quick overview of the Pacific Alliance, Mercosur and the trade in services agreement.
Should you have any questions, my colleague and I will be happy to answer them.