Tuesday, January 23, 2018

TPP deal reached

Canada has reached agreement with 10 other countries on a trade-liberalization deal.

It does not include the United States because President Donald Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations just as they were about to be finalized.

The deal includes Japan, which is of key importance for Canada. The meat industry was, for example, concerned about losing competitive advantages to Australia because it had negotiated a free trade deal with Japan.

Now Canada gains a competitive advantage over the United States.

There are a number of Asian countries which could become lucrative markets for Canadian farmers and food processors, such as Viet Nam and Singapore.

The others who participated in negotiating the deal reached this week are Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and Peru.

Jacques Lefebvre, chief executive officer for the Dairy Farmers of Canada supply-management agency, criticized the deal for keeping a concession that was part of the deal before the U.S. walked out – access to another 3.25 per cent of the Canadian market.

Lefebvre said it makes no sense to give as much tariff-free access in TPP talks when the benefits of U.S. participation are absent.

"The negotiating logic is really hard to understand," Lefebvre said, calling Wednesday a "sombre day for the 220,000 Canadians who depend on the dairy sector for their livelihood."

Frankly, what's hard for me to understand is that Australia and New Zealand are satisfied with a measly 3.25 per cent increase in market access.

The poultry sector has been silent about the deal’s impact on its fortunes.

They will also yield access, 2.3 per cent for eggs, 2.1 per cent for chicken, two per cent for turkey snd 1.5 per cent for hatching eggs.

When he was still prime minister, Stephen Harper promised these quota holders more than $4 billion in compensation, made up of promises that profits and quota prices would be retained and only gradually allowed to decline.

Thank goodness that promise does not have to be honoured now.