Ag exporters worry about Ottawa’s TPP reluctance

Exporters of agricultural commodities and food are worried, very worried, that Canada will not be part of the new Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.

In a statement released today, the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) said if Canada isn’t part of TPP, now known as the CPTPP, it could affect the “livelihoods of nearly a million Canadians.”

CAFTA members, such as the Canola Council of Canada, the Canadian Pork Council and most commodity groups, are concerned that Japan may move ahead on the TPP deal without Canada.

Last January, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out the 12 nation deal, but led by Japan, the remaining 11 Pacific nations pushed ahead.

The countries almost signed an agreement in November at a meeting in Vietnam. However, Prime Minister Trudeau had second thoughts and threw a wrench into the completion of the deal. Trudeau asked for new provisions, such as chapters on the environment, worker’s rights and gender issues.

In the end, the 11 countries reached a provisional agreement in Vietnam with plans to negotiate a few key issues before finalizing the trade pact.

Agricultural groups are worried that Japan and Australia are becoming increasing frustrated with Canada’s tactics and stalling on TPP. Reports out of Japan suggest the country is considering a TPP deal that doesn’t include Canada.

If that happens it would be a massive loss for Canada’s agri-food industry, especially the Japanese market.

“The EU, Australia and Chile have already secured deals with Japan, which imports about $4 billion in Canadian agri-food products annually,” CAFTA said in its release.

TPP is critical for Canada’s pork producers and processors, who export more than a $1 billion in pork annually to Japan.

“Falling behind in Asia would threaten pork production and processing in Canada,” said Chris White, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Meat Council. “A trade agreement with Japan matters.”

The federal government’s reluctance to sign TPP is connected to the auto sector.

Unifor, the autoworker’s union, has been extremely critical of TPP, saying it would reduce or eliminate Japanese investment in Canada’s auto sector.

Vehicles are an important component of Ontario’s economy but it’s small compared to Canada’s agri-food industry.

“Food and beverage processing is the largest employer in the manufacturing sector in Canada,” CAFTA said. “(It has) close to a quarter of a million jobs, more than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined.”

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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Comments

  • Monkeeworks

    TPP isn’t even functional, no one has signed on, yet millions of jobs in Canada are affected. How did that happen? Let Japan sign where they want. They can sign on to get every pork chop from Siberia if they want. If there arn’t any pork chops in Siberia they will buy from Canada or where ever they can get the best deal.
    The idea of guaranteed sales is a sinking ship in todays world. If you have the best product at a decent price you will sell it with no middle men needed.

  • Harold

    “If you have the best product at a decent price you will sell it with no middle men needed’ – is the way of the future – after the current A.I. era. The era after A.I. is the DATA era making your statement possible and it will create many direct sell industries in Canada and globally. The TPP will stand in the way and with no expiry date, the agreement should never have been signed. Global rules of Trade and the rules protecting each countries own sovereignty have not been put into place yet. At the World economic summit in Davos, Switzerland is where these issues were recently discussed, but true to form, Trudeau embarrassed us yet again in front of the richest corporations and leaders of the world with another one of his disingenuous speeches. Trudeau in his TPP blindness just signed away Canada’s participation in the new DATA era of commerce and now we are tied, without an expiry date, to corporate greed. It has been good for the USA that Trump is not that stupid. It is really too bad that Canadians are not getting the real news.

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