Remember the World Trade Organization? I ask because an entire generation of business leaders have started companies since the WTO accomplished anything significant. Mark Zuckerberg was 17 when the on-going Doha Round of free-trade negotiations began in 2001. Trade ministers from the 161 countries that make up the WTO are scheduled to meet next month in Nairobi, Kenya. No one is expecting much.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t interest in trade. Quite the contrary. Canadian parliamentarians will spend the next number of months assessing the merits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, the 12-nation pact the United States put together with other like-minded countries from the Pacific Rim. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing pressure from President Barack Obama to ratify the agreement, while Canada’s auto-parts makers and former Research in Motion chief executive Jim Balsillie are among the voices calling on Trudeau to walk away. Similar friction exists in all the countries party to the deal. Ratification is likely, but not assured.
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