Farm groups delighted as CPTPP ratified

When the House of Commons ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership last week, followed quickly by royal assent, many farm groups reacted with glee.

Canada is the fifth country to ratify the agreement — Mexico, Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand are the others — which encompasses 11 countries and almost 500 million people with a combined GDP of $13.5 trillion. When six countries ratify, it goes into effect within 60 days.

The Canadian government’s website says, “More than three-quarters of Canada’s agriculture and agri-food products will benefit from immediate duty-free access,” the government website says.

Several farm groups issued releases.

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan said the CPTPP “opens up significant export opportunities for Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers.”

Canada West Foundation’s trade director, Carlo Dade, said “the hard part is getting firms to understand how special this agreement is and to do what has not happened in the past — actually take up what is on offer.”

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture said Canada’s ratification “allows Canadian farmers to have a “first-movers advantage” in entering these new markets and capturing export opportunities.”

First-movers advantage allows the first six countries to establish business ties in each other’s markets ahead of the others.

The Alberta wheat and barley commissions say the deal “paves the way for Canadian farmers to see increased export volumes that could result in higher farm revenues as early as spring 2019.”

Several groups noted that Canada has an additional advantage because the United States pulled out of the deal.

Grain Growers of Canada President Jeff Nielsen said approving the deal was “a great day for grain farmers.”

Brian Innes, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, said “opening up Asian markets will help create jobs and secure billions of dollars in prosperity here at home.”

Dairy Farmers of Canada, however, is not so happy. Statements on the group’s website issued earlier this year say the impact on dairy farmers will be $160 million per year, with the loss of 3.1 percent of milk production in Canada.

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