As the campaign for the upcoming federal election kicks into high gear, opponents of Prime Minister Harper have found fodder in the Trans Pacific Partnership that was agreed to by representatives from 12 participating nations in Atlanta on Oct. 5.
Ag. industry sectors with supply-managed goods, such as dairy, chicken, and turkey, will see modest changes as imports mainly from the U.S. will be coming into the country tariff-free. The quota increases are a lot less significant than NDP candidate Thomas Mulcair would care to admit, however. The quota increase for dairy amounts to 3.25 percent of the dairy market; 2.3 percent for eggs, 2.1 percent for chicken, and 2 percent for turkey. The federal government has committed itself to providing farmers who suffer losses with 100 percent compensation for 10 years after the TPP comes into effect. An additional $1.5 billion will be earmarked to compensate for the lost value of quotas.
Mulcair only seems to be concerned about industry in Ontario with comments such as, “If Mr. Harper has signed a deal that takes away supply management, hurts farming families (meaning dairy farming families), hurts autoworkers, the NDP in no way, shape, or form bound by what Mr. Harper negotiated without a mandate in the dying days of his awful 10-year reign in Canada.”
While, the trade deal may have a negative impact on the dairy farmers, other sectors of the agriculture industry, including canola and beef, are sure to benefit. Canadian beef, pork, wheat, barley, and canola producers, along with wine and whisky producers will see either tariff elimination or market access to Japan (17.3 percent agricultural tariff on Canadian products), Malaysia (10.9 percent), and Vietnam (17 percent).
Liberal candidate, Justin Trudeau at least wanted to wait to see the mammoth document before shooting off his mouth.
“The Liberal Party of Canada strongly supports free trade, as this is how we open markets to Canadian goods and services, grow Canadian businesses, create good-paying jobs, and provide choice and lower prices to Canadian consumers,” Trudeau said following the Oct. 5 announcement, leaning towards approval of the TPP without fully supporting the Conservative government’s involvement.
According to an article in Canadian Cattlemen: The Beef Magazine, Canadian dairy, poultry, and egg producers will see more duty-free access to the United States and other TPP countries.
Mulcair in a narrow view of the TPP, discredits it because of potential ramifications to the dairy industry, but has not indicated any approval for its benefits to the beef, canola, and other oilseeds sectors. Such a micro view shows his focus on Ontario and Quebec voters, with little interest to agricultural producers in the western provinces.
Harper, and the Conservative government have recognized that to not participate in the partnership could hinder Canada’s economy far worse than just a few industries.
While Mulcair has been vocal about his displeasure over the TPP, here in Alberta, Premier Rachel Notley has been rather quiet about the deal that would benefit our Agriculture industry and at a time, when Alberta needs all the help it can get. Likely, Notley will reserve comment until after the Oct. 19 federal election.
If ratified by the 12 nations, the Trans Pacific Partnership would create the largest trade zone in the world. The combined GDP of the 12 nations produce approximately 40 percent of the world’s economic output, equaling $28.5 trillion.