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CPC Confident TPP Free Trade Agreement Close at Hand

By Bruce Cochrane

The executive director of the Canadian Pork Council is confident completion of a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement is close at hand.

Last week representatives from the 12 nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership discussions, meeting in Hawaii, failed to conclude an agreement but negotiations are expected to resume later this month.

Canadian Pork Council executive director Martin Rice, who was in Maui during the discussions, remains optimistic.

Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council:
It was disappointing to not see the agreement completed last week.

Clearly the negotiators and the ministers came with the idea of bringing it to a close.

It is not a case though of us being left out of a deal that others were going to join and that was something that many participants in the agri-food exporters sector were concerned about.

We're not in the negotiating rooms but I had a sense that the people involved were quite confident that it was going to finish.

Certainly they would have finished last week, had there not been a couple of areas of very significant challenge to finish up and that includes autos, it includes some agri-food sectors, likely dairy and it probably was a little bit too far a bridge to cross without certain governments going back to confirm an opportunity to negotiate further.

I don't particularly put Canada in that category.
I felt Canada was prepared to bring the negotiations to a close.
I think there were some other countries that didn't seem to have the mandate for the negotiators to finish up in some key areas.

Rice acknowledges this is a very complicated negotiation involving many different players and many different issues but it will be a very important trade agreement that will almost certainly grow in terms of participants once it is finished.

Source: Farmscape

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