CCA Statement - Canada needs to be a founding member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Calgary, AB – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) applauds Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent comments in Quebec City that it is essential for Canada to be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  The CCA urges the Government of Canada to maintain a high level of ambition as the negotiations enter their final phase and ensure that Canada will become a founding member of the TPP.

A TPP agreement could come together quite quickly now that the United States (U.S.) Congress has granted U.S. President Barack Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to finish the negotiations. Signed into law by the President today, the TPA means Canada and the other TPP countries can play their final cards at the negotiating table without fear of having to later re-negotiate with the U.S. Congress. In return, all TPP countries should expect the U.S. comes to the table prepared to make genuine concessions in areas where it has traditionally held back. The CCA is asking Canada to seize this opportunity and fully engage at the negotiating table.

Canada’s beef producers cannot afford for Canada to stay out of TPP or delay entry. Canada exported over $100 million of beef to Japan in 2014 under the same 38.5 per cent tariff as its major beef producing competitors. However the playing field is no longer level; earlier this year, Australia implemented a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Japan and already has a significant tariff advantage (31.5% on fresh beef and 28.5% on frozen). Canada needs the TPP to catch up to Australia and keep pace with the U.S. and New Zealand.

With a TPP agreement in place, Canada could eventually double or triple beef exports to Japan. Without a TPP or with a delayed entry, Canada’s beef producers risk becoming uncompetitive and eventually shut out of key Asian markets.

If Canada is not a founding member, it will be relegated to seeking accession along with other countries that want into the TPP.  That likely means Canada having to commit to even deeper concessions later in its areas of sensitivity and getting less in return than if we join now. Moreover, trying to get back in after the fact means Canada forfeits the opportunity to set the conditions of entry for other prospective members. For example the Canadian beef sector would want Korea to accelerate its tariff phase-outs on Canadian beef as a condition of entry to TPP, but would be unable to request that as a non-founding member.

The time to act is now. Canada needs to be a founding member of the TPP.

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Contact:
Gina Teel
Communications Manager
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
403-275-8558 x 306 | teelg@cattle.ca
www.cattle.ca