Trade ministers from the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are expected to arrive in Atlanta today with the goal of concluding the trade deal.
Both the domestic and export-oriented sectors of Canadian agriculture are well-represented at the meetings, which started at the chief negotiator level on Sunday.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership right now for us is the biggest deal on the planet,” says Claire Citeau, executive director of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, from Atlanta in the interview below. “There is a lot at stake if we’re not in the TPP agreement.”
Is it possible for all of Canadian agriculture to be satisfied with the result of the TPP talks? Shaun Haney talks with CAFTA’s Claire Citeau:
According to Citeau, 65 percent of Canadian agri-food exports currently go to the markets involved in the TPP talks.
Gaining TPP access to Japan is “the crown jewel, the big prize” for the Canadian grain, oilseed and meat sectors. But, Canada’s participation isn’t just about gaining new market access. It’s also about keeping up with the U.S., Australia and other competing exporters, says Citeau.
So what happens if Canada is unable to agree to the terms of a deal?
“The impact of that would be devastating. It would have a very negative impact across Canada’s agriculture sector and ripple effects across the entire economy,” says Citeau.
Here’s how the numbers break down if Canada is left outside the TPP, according to CAFTA:
- $1 billion of current pork exports would be at risk. High-value exports to Japan could drop by up to 40 percent.
- Grain, oilseed, pulse and special crop exports worth $2.3 billion annually to Japan, Malaysia and Singapore could be lost to lower-tariff competition. For canola, eliminating tariffs through the TPP could boost exports of value-added oil and meal by an estimated 1 million tonnes, worth $780 million annually. Barley exports could grow by 150,000 tonnes worth $80 million.
- For the beef sector, the TPP could double or triple current exports to Japan, valued at $100 million annually.
- For sugar, a successful TPP could fix and grow the $120 million annual access to the US lost through the NAFTA and WTO.
Back in Ottawa, farmers concerned Canada will compromise the supply management system and allow more dairy and poultry imports held a rally complete with tractors and Holstein cattle on Parliament Hill on Tuesday.
Dairy Farmers of Canada, which also has representatives in Atlanta this week, refrained from conducting an interview with RealAgriculture “until after a deal or no deal is confirmed.”
“DFC does not oppose international trade; Canada has negotiated numerous trade deals in the past while maintaining the integrity of supply management. However, we will continue to stand firm on defending the interests of dairy farmers and the Canadian dairy supply management system. We oppose endangering the stability and viability of our industry,” said DFC president Wally Smith in a news release on Tuesday.