The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) is praising the tabling of the Comprehensive and Progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Parliament and is urging swift implementation of enabling legislation.
Tabling the treaty is the first step towards implementation which will require legislation to be tabled, debated, and passed by both chambers of Parliament before Canadians can benefit from increased access to the Asia-Pacific.
“With Minister François-Philippe Champagne tabling the treaty, we’ve taken a historic step closer to having competitive access to Asia-Pacific markets,” says CAFTA president Brian Innes. “It’s critical that we keep up the momentum so that Canada is not left behind by the first six countries who implement the CPTPP.”
The CPTPP will come into effect once six countries ratify the agreement. These countries will then see CPTPP tariff cuts come into effect and they will secure a first-mover advantage over other CPTPP members who have not ratified.
Other countries are moving fast to implement the agreement. Mexico ratified the deal in April, Australia tabled the treaty in its Parliament and vows to ratify soon and the deal has successfully made it through Japan’s Lower House with a clear plan to vote on it before the end of June. Malaysia and Chile are both expected to implement the agreement quickly and New Zealand, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam and Brunei are all working towards an autumn implementation date.
“Canada needs to be part of the first six countries who implement the CPTPP,” says Innes. “The longer we wait the longer we’ll face headwinds in the Asia-Pacific.”
Canadian agri-food exporters are currently at a competitive disadvantage because other countries have trade agreements that Canada does not. Mexico, Australia and Chile have free trade agreements with Japan and the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement will soon slash 85 per cent of Japanese tariffs on European agri-food products.
Being part of the original six countries would also give Canada more influence in negotiating the terms for the many countries that have expressed interest in joining the CPTPP, including the United States.
According to research commissioned by CAFTA, the trade pact could increase agri-food exports by $1.84 billion. Not being in the CPTPP could mean $2.93 billion in opportunity costs for agri-food sector.
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