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Inu Manak
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I suppose they could be considered PPMs and not product standards in the sense it is understood in the EU context. I'm not sure how strict the distinction is, however, and from the way government officials talk about it with regard to mutual recognition of equivalence, I don't think they do either.
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Thanks for your comment Bob! I think this is certainly one way to see it, and I agree that CETA preserved Canadian autonomy in a very big way on this issue. A lot will depend, I think, on how these chapters operate in practice. As we haven't seen them in action yet, it is quite hard to know what the impact will be over time. But it really could go either way.
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Hi Lorand, I agree that it is rare we see equivalence being adopted, and cooperation tends to lean towards harmonization on the larger market's rules. However, there are two examples that come to mind that seem to have worked. The first is the EU-US equivalence agreement on organic produce. The second is the US- Canada equivalence of meat safety systems (as per the RCC process). For the RCC there are many more works in progress that seem to be making headway, but I do think the reason this has been so successful comparative to other efforts is that the US and Canada regulatory systems are very similar. Here's a link to the RCC site if you're interested in more on this: Always happy to discuss this!
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Hi Michelle, Thanks so much for your comment. I certainly agree that this is competition is not something new between the EU and US, and US absence (or lack of participation) in international standard setting has been one of the persistent challenges. What concerns me, and we won't know it until we see it, are efforts to push for harmonization. It seems from what we know so far about JEEPA (particularly that it may be similar to the language used in EU-Korea), that it moves in this direction. My understanding was that mutual equivalence in standards would be the reasonable way to go, since many of these rules achieve the same ends. But you're right that we won't know until these agreements go into effect and we see what is done through the regulatory cooperation initiatives. I'll be keeping my eye on CETA for sure, as that one most closely resembles the structure of the US-Canada RCC, and after many years of operation, we are much better aware of the pitfalls of these efforts.
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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