Madam Speaker, I will use the example of the TPP. The TPP is a multilateral agreement. Once signed and in force, this agreement would set out the rules for trade in Asia. It would actually give us leverage to springboard into China and other countries like India and say that these are the rules. It would also give us the clout to enforce those rules.
Bilateral agreements are great for reducing tariffs, but they are not great for non-tariff trade barriers. We have seen that, even with our agreements with the U.S. and country of origin labelling. How long did we have a WTO ruling saying that the U.S. was offside? How long did it take until we were able to get over that ruling and get the results we needed for Canadian farmers?
If a country were to do a bilateral trade deal in China by itself, that country might get tariff reductions but it would not get anything like environmental protection or anything on human rights. If that deal were to be done through TPP countries with a multilateral setting as a base, then the country can insert those in the agreement and then they have to be respected and then they can be enforced.