CPTPP text tabled in the House of Commons

The Canadian government has taken a step toward ratifying the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne tabled the text of the 11-country trade deal in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

However, the government must still introduce and pass a bill to implement the agreement before Canada can participate in the deal, which was signed in Chile in early March.

Mexico’s government has already ratified the agreement, while Japan is on pace to potentially ratify it in June. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia have also started their domestic approval processes.

The CPTPP will take effect once six of the 11 signatories have ratified it domestically. After that, countries will have to wait sixty days after ratifying to take advantage of the beneficial market access terms in the deal.

Export-oriented farm groups are urging the Liberals to table this legislation as soon as possible, but the tight timeline is making it unlikely it will happen before Parliament’s summer break.

The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance calls the tabling of the text “a positive step” while urging the government to introduce the implementation bill “to secure first mover advantage and predictable access to fast growing markets in Asian, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.”

It’s possible the legislation could be accompanied by another round of public consultations, but Carlo Dade, director of the Canada West Foundation’s Trade & Investment Centre, argues there’s “no good reason for further delay.”

“Getting the CPTPP ratified is badly needed good news for western Canadian farmers out in the fields for spring planting as by this time next year, they could be taking advantage of major trade benefits over our American competitors in Asian markets. But we’re not at the finish line yet,” he says, in a statement issued Wednesday.

“Since Canada first joined negotiations for the trade deal in 2012, the Harper and Trudeau governments have already had more than 60 committee hearings with roughly 450 experts and stakeholders, received nearly 200 briefs and held consultations in every region of the country with hundreds of additional stakeholders. Each government conducted an economic impact assessment of the agreement. The deal has been exhaustively debated and examined in Canada before signing on. Delay now is inexcusable.”

– Canada West Foundation

According to Japanese media, Japan will be hosting a meeting of chief negotiators from the 11 CPTPP countries in June or July for an update on each country’s progress in ratifying the deal domestically.

Related: Liberals missing out on an easy win by not ratifying CPTPP

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