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Inu Manak
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Hi Robin, thank you very much for your comments! I do want to note that where the U.S. also takes such discriminatory measures with regard to alcohol monopolies, I object to those too, so I am not just picking on Canada here. In fact, I would encourage Canada to pursue similar complaints against the United States. Secondly, while I think you have a valid point with regard to public health, it is hard for me to see how this particular measure is an effective way to achieve public health goals. If the government is interested in raising prices to avoid consumption, then they could just tax it— treating both foreign and domestic products the same. As a result, I don't think there is a valid reason to exclude foreign like products from the market in this case.
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On whether this is good for North American integration, I would say it depends on the aspects of TPP we're looking at. For instance, on labor and environment, the TPP goes well beyond NAFTA by including enforceable obligations. However, the Committee that would be set up under the TPP provisions is significantly pared down from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), as it's supposed to meet every other year, not every year, and it's not clear whether special sessions would take place. The CEC has been generally effective with a very limited budget, so it would more useful to preserve this structure. I'm most concerned about the future of regulatory cooperation, however. Yes, TPP would technically make this a little less ad hoc than it is at present, and possibly encourage more trilateral cooperation instead of the two separate bilateral North American RCC's we currently have. But I would much rather support a regulatory cooperation chapter as found in the CETA, because I think the TPP Chapter 25 is far more focused on domestic regulatory process and good regulatory practice than cooperation on future (and current) regulatory divergence. For example, CETA Ch. 21.2.4 outlines a broader scope for cooperation, and highlights "pursuing regulatory compatibility, recognition of equivalence, or convergence" and, in addition, gives the innovative option of bringing in interested third parties. The CETA also does not include a clause on the non-application of dispute settlement, unlike TPP, which depending on how you feel about this, is good or bad (you already know what I think!). Also notable is the absence of sector specific regulatory cooperation in TPP (it is in CETA), which would be an important feature in any NAFTA upgrade, because it is the only means to work on existing, not just future, regulations, which is a big part of the RCC's current work plans. On other issues, such as SOEs, and e-commerce/digital trade, I think it's a necessary upgrade and would be net positive for NA integration. So I'd say it's definitely not the best model to upgrade NAFTA entirely. It would be better to upgrade some aspects based on what we've done in CETA and TTIP (to an extent) because I think TPP is written more with the developing country members in mind, and therefore falls short on the type of integration North Americanists want to see.
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Nov 22, 2016