processes (Richardson,2016). Services trade is heavily reliant on such skilled labour, making
the advancement oflabour mobility in trade policy imperative moving forward.
Despite this, facilitating labour mobility through trade and immigration policy remains
one of the most controversial and resisted aspects of global integration (Hufbauer and
Stephenson, 2007;Hugo, 2008). Since the 2008 global ﬁnancial crisis, this resistance has
become further entrenched by rising anti-globalization and anti-immigration sentiment in
parts of the Western world. Advocating for greater labour mobility is difﬁcult for political
leaders in such a context, who viewtheir primary obligations as protecting domestic jobs for
their citizens ratherthan furthering the interests of foreign workersor their employers.
Nevertheless, many of these same Westerneconomies are facing demographic pressures,
which compel them to consider the role of immigration in addressing future labour market
shortages. Population aging in countries such as the USA, Canada and much of Western
Europe will result in highold-age dependency ratios (number of persons aged 65 or over,per
100 working-aged persons), which will challenge the capacity of governments to ﬁnance
social programs. Although increasing automation of routine tasks may eventually reduce
pressure to attract low-skilled immigrants, it is likely that these countries will work to
attract large numbers of high-skilled immigrants over the long-term (Chanda, 2016;
Although the importance of international labour mobility in addressing such labour
shortages is widely acknowledged, less is known about labour mobility provisions in
international trade agreements. This paper explores the evolution of temporary entry
chapters in trade agreements over time and culminating in the Trans-Paciﬁc Partnership
(TPP). Canada and the USA offer interestingcase studies for the exploration of these issues.
Since agreeing to a single set of rules in this regard via the Canada–US Free Trade
Agreement nearly 30 years ago, the two countries have followed divergent paths toward
temporary entry in subsequent trade agreements. In total, more than 45 countries have
ﬁnalized temporary entry provisions in their trade agreements with either the USA or
Canada. In the absence of meaningful multilateral progress under broader international
frameworks such as the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), this series of
modern trade agreements heavily inﬂuence international standardsfor temporary entry for
the twenty-ﬁrst century.
I argue that both in its original12-country form and the subsequent 11-country pact that
was ultimately ﬁnalized without the USA, the TPP represents a missed opportunity to
advance global labour mobility for the twenty-ﬁrstcentury. As demonstrated, this failure is
largely due to the intractable position of US negotiators over the TPP’s labour migration
chapter, Temporary Entry for Business Persons, provisions that were never revisited,
following the USA’s exit fromthe agreement.
To better understand the dynamics involved, this paper evaluates the temporary entry
commitments undertaken by each TPP partner including the USA. The history of
temporary entry commitments bythe USA vs Canada in previous trade agreements is then
evaluated and exempliﬁes how the two countries have diverged in their approaches over
time. To my knowledge, this paper is the ﬁrst to consider these issues for the TPP and to
offer a complete review of the evolution of temporary entry in Canadian vs US trade
agreements to better understand the broader consequences for the international trading
Previous literature on temporary entry provisions in trade agreements
Workers covered by temporary entry provisions in trade agreements include high-skilled
workers with advanced training and education, normally at the post-secondary level.