After five years of negotiation, Canada joined 11 other countries in New Zealand to sign the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.
The signature from officials is the first step in the historic agreement, said New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay in a statement read by all 12 ministers.
“TPP will set a new standard for trade and investment in one of the most fastest growing and dynamic regions. We signatories compromise of nearly 40 percent of global GDP and a market of more than 800 million people and around one-third of world trade. Our goal is to enhance shared transparency, create jobs and promote sustainable economic development for all of our nations.”
Now that the 16,000 page document is signed, each minister must go home and start the process to ratify the agreement, before it comes into force.
“The Trans Pacific Partnership, ultimately represents a giant vote of confidence in, and optimism for, the future prosperity of our economy and our people,” said New Zealand prime minister John Key.
Canada’s trade minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada is one of the few countries elected after the agreement was negotiated.
“Our commitment during the election was to state very firmly, we are a party that believes strongly in free trade… and our participation in the Asia Pacific is very important. We made a commitment during our election to consult widely on the TPP and we are absolutely committed to keeping that promise,” said Freeland.
“We are committed to a full parliamentary committee study and a full parliamentary debate ahead of any ratification.”
In news releases, the Canadian Meat Council said the TPP is crucial to the “sustainability of this country’s livestock and meat sector.”
Failure to participate in TPP would mean a loss of $500 million in new export potential and put the current $1 billion of meat trade at risk.
The Alberta Canola Producers Association said with 90 percent of the canola exported as seed, oil and meal, the agreement is “critical” to the industry.
The agreement would increase Canada’s export markets by $780 million, said the release.