House of Commons ratifies CPTPP; Senate up next

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is getting close to reality.

On Tuesday, members of Parliament voted to ratify the CPTPP, an 11-nation trade deal between Pacific nations, including Japan, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.

The legislation, Bill C-79, will now go to the Senate to complete the ratification process.

If it makes it through the Senate, Canada will likely become one of the first six nations to formally approve the agreement.

The agreement becomes real 60 days after six countries have ratified the deal. Those nations will immediately benefit from reduced tariffs and improved access to the lucrative Japanese market, but other members of the agreement will not.

The members of CPTPP signed the deal in early March.

Since then, Canadian agri-food exporters have been urging the federal government to quickly ratify CPTPP so that Canada doesn’t lose sales of pork, beef and canola to Japan.

“The canola industry appreciates the House of Commons passing this landmark agreement in a timely way,” said Jim Everson, Canola Council of Canada president. “The urgency and co-operation shown in the past four weeks mirrors the importance of this agreement to increase value-added canola exports.”

Canadian canola is already at a disadvantage to Australian canola in the Japanese market. Australia has a free trade deal with Japan, which is eliminating tariffs on canola and canola products.

When the CPTPP fully eliminates tariffs, Canadian exports of canola oil and meal to Japan and Vietnam could increase by $780 million annually, the CCC says.

The deal is also critical for Canada’s beef industry. The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has estimated that annual beef exports to Japan should jump by $200 million, in the short term, thanks to tariff reductions.

Mexico, Japan and Singapore have already approved the deal and other countries are expected to complete ratification soon.

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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