The last domestic legislative hurdle to enacting the CPTPP trade deal with Pacific rim countries has been cleared.
The deal was approved by senate and received Royal Assent the afternoon of Oct. 25.
The moves makes Canada one of the first countries to ratify the 11 nation deal which comes into effect once the first six signatories confirm the deal through legislative channels.
Being in the first six confers a headstart advantage on Canada and other early-movers, allowing them time to carve out market share ahead of the remaining five nations.
The deal was endangered after U.S. president Donald Trump pulled that country out of the deal immediately after being sworn into office last January.
In a statement, Food & Consumers Products of Canada (FCPC) said once the agreement enters into force, “the CPTPP will reduce and eliminate almost all tariffs between CPTPP member countries, while establishing high-standard rules that will make our business environment more predictable.”
The FPCP said that gains from tariff elimination and improved market access for Canadian agri-food and consumer products are especially significant in the markets of Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam. However, the FPCP expressed concern “by the impact of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. food and consumer products, which continues to cause harm to our industry, as well as the ripple effect of the trade dispute between the United States and China. We urge the government to make it a priority to get the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs lifted so that we can normalize trade relations with our southern neighbour, which remains our most important trading partner.”
“As one of the first six countries to ratify the CPTPP, agri-food exporters will have a headstart over competitors as soon as the agreement is implemented and the first round of tariff cuts happens,” said Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance president Brian Innes in a release. “Once all tariff cuts are complete, the agreement will enable agri-food exporters to increase our exports by up to $2 billion annually. This will create jobs and generate significant benefits across Canada, moving us toward the government’s ambitious target of $75 billion in agri-food exports by 2025.”
A senate committee studied the legislation and released a report Oct. 25 that said the government needed to work hard to ensure Canadian companies got the maximum benefit of the agreement and also offset any “adverse impacts” like new competition and potential job losses in some sectors.