Opting out of partnership could be detrimental to Canadian beef producers
By Kate Ayers
The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) supports the Canadian government signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP11).
The aim of the TPP is “to promote regional economic integration, contribute to the economic growth prospects of its member countries, and create new opportunities for workers, families, farmers, businesses and consumers,” according to a TPP Ministerial Statement from the Government of Canada.
The U.S. backed out of the agreement early last year, leaving 11 countries involved in the partnership. Australia, Japan and Mexico are among the participating nations.
And a trade agreement with the Asia Pacific region is crucial, according to a SSGA release on Tuesday.
“Last year, Canada’s beef industry had over $2.3 billion in exports,” Shane Jahnke, SSGA president, said in the release.
“The Asia Pacific region, especially Japan, can offer Canadian cattle producers considerable opportunities for expanding into new trade markets.”
In November, trade representatives involved in the TPP11 were prepared to reach a deal but Canada voiced last-minute opposition. The other countries have indicated they are ready to move forward, with or without Canada.
Not joining the agreement would force Canadian beef producers to face even greater obstacles, according to the release.
“If we don’t sign on, the other countries will go ahead and we’re going to lose market access to Japan because our competitors, such as Australia, will get a tariff advantage over Canadian beef producers,” Chad MacPherson, SSGA general manager, said to Farms.com today.
If Canada is left behind, a 38.5 per cent tariff would continue to apply to its beef exports to Japan. In comparison, those countries that sign the deal would see tariff rates fall to 27 per cent and then eventually decline to 9 per cent, according to the release.
Canada’s involvement in TPP11 would result in the tariff rate for beef exports to the Asia Pacific region being at the same level Australia now pays (27 per cent). Additionally, Canada would realize a competitive advantage over U.S. beef exports, as the U.S. is not participating in the TPP11 trade negotiations.
Canada’s signature on the TPP has the potential to increase beef exports by $200 million. Trade negotiations are expected to continue on Jan. 22 and 23.