The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a complex regional trade agreement that aims to expand trade and further liberalize the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. The TPP began in 2005 as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) and has since expanded to become an ambitious regional free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated by the United States (US), Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Canada joined the TPP trade negotiations in October 2012.
The TPP is one of the most significant trade initiatives around the globe. Collectively, the TPP countries have a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of U.S. $21 trillion and represent over 65% of Canada’s $56 billion in agriculture and food exports. This trade deal has the potential to move beyond its current membership and draw in additional emerging and developed economies in the Asia-Pacific region — one of Canada’s key export markets.
Leaders in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries are advocating for a comprehensive and ambitious, next-generation regional trade agreement that liberalizes trade in goods, services and investment, and that addresses existing and emerging trade issues in a way that meets 21st-century objectives. CAFTA and its members support this goal.
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance supports Canada’s participation in the TPP and believes it will significantly contribute to the growth and competitiveness of the agricultural sector.
CAFTA believes that to achieve its objectives, the TPP must eliminate tariffs and quantitative import restrictions on all goods. The agreement must also include new and sustainable approaches to deal with today’s critical trade issues, including non-tariff barriers, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, rules of origin, customs administration and other measures that can be critical to ensuring that market access commitments are real.
Views of the Members of The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance
Market Access: To achieve the full potential of this regional trade deal, TPP countries must, over time, eliminate import tariffs and quotas on all products. The TPP should establish commitments that extend
beyond existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) among the TPP members, and enhance and equalize trade opportunities among the partners.
Customs Administration: To facilitate trade, the TPP must ensure that customs procedures are clear, transparent and predictable.
Rules of Origin: Rules of origin should be consistent across the TPP countries and should result in one regional rule of origin. This would allow for regional integration and cumulation of inputs, and permit greater efficiency in production and trade across the TPP region.
Regulatory Coherence and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT): The TPP should enhance cooperation in the development and enforcement of regulatory systems and requirements, including greater transparency and regional consultation on the development of regulations, and strict disciplines around trade-distorting TBTs.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures: The TPP must include robust systems to ensure that SPS measures are managed in a way that facilitates trade, that regulations are grounded in science, and that member countries consistently adhere to sound and up-to-date policies developed by international bodies such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
Dispute Resolution and Enforcement: The TPP must include mechanisms that ensure adherence to TPP requirements and that allow for a timely and cost-effective response to disputes, including a rapid-response mechanism for perishable agriculture and agri-food products.
Living Agreement: The TPP must be a “living agreement” that provides the flexibility to evolve in response to new developments in trade and technology and to other emerging issues. It must also permit expansion to allow for new members who will commit to a high-standard agreement and existing TPP obligations, while demonstrating a willingness to negotiate on all issues, including sensitive issues.
Relationship to the Multilateral Trading System: A successful TPP negotiation and outcome should be viewed as an opportunity to help shape the future agenda for multilateral (WTO) trade liberalization. The TPP should take advantage of opportunities to break new ground on difficult issues and build momentum towards multilateral trade liberalization.
CAFTA is a coalition of national and regional organizations that support a more open and fair international trading environment for agriculture and agri-food. CAFTA’s members include farmers,producers, processors and exporters from the major trade dependent sectors including; the beef, pork, grains, oilseed, sugar and malt. Together, CAFTA members account for 80 per cent of Canada’s agriculture and agri-food exports totalling $50 billion dollars in exports annually, and directly employ half a million Canadians.