The long-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership has concluded today, October 5, in what the government is calling a move that will benefit Canada’s economy.
According to a government press release, the agreement will give “preferential access” to Asian-pacific countries by cutting tariffs and other barriers on Canadian products.
There will be a specific chapter in the agreement dedicated to creating measures for small and medium sized enterprises so they are able to take advantage of the opportunities the new free trade agreement will offer.
As well as offer lower-barrier trade opportunities for the Asian market, the government says they hope to strengthen Canada’s traditional partnership with the United States and the rest of the Americas.
The 12 countries that are included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam and the average per-capita GDP of TPP nations is $35,000.
As such, only wealthier, more developed nations are included in the agreement.
The government says that 60 per cent of Canada’s GDP is linked to trade in some form, with 20 per cent linked directly to exports.
The most crucial market for Canada in this agreement is Japan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a press conference.
Harper said worries over quotas in the dairy farming industry are unfounded since they will be setting aside $3.4 billion over the next few years specifically for the dairy industry.
Concerns remain, however, for the auto industry. Competition with Asian parts producers might affect the 81,000 jobs in the Canadian auto sector, but Harper said our auto industry is largely export-based and the Conservatives will try to attract new auto investment in the country and keep assembly operations in the country.
“This is a once in a lifetime agreement – you’re either in or you’re out and we choose to be in” said Harper.
Other countries have not yet ratified the agreement, which means Canada might not see the benefits of the TPP for the next two years, but Harper said the tariff eliminations with be “significant” for Canadian consumers.