Pacific-rim pact to benefit Aussies, Canucks

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The Canadian government has said labor rights and the environment will have to factor into a trade agreement being formulated with the countries of Australasia that could see all tariffs removed on large seafood deals.

A new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — to replace the one the United States withdrew from at a stroke early in early 2017 — aims to “eliminate 95-percent” of tariffs between the countries of the Asia Pacific, including Australia, Canada, China (Hong Kong), Chile, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam. The TPP, a trade agreement between the countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, is not to be confused with the much larger (and controversial) Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP which has aimed to create a “bill of rights” for companies across sectors. The TPP — renamed CPTPP, now for “comprehensive and progressive”, would, nevertheless, affect about USD108 billion in trade.

“We will only sign onto a deal that reflects Canada’s interests and meets our objectives to create and sustain well-paying middle-class jobs in today’s competitive global economy,” a statement from Canadian Trade Minister, François-Philippe Champagne said. U.S. President Donald Trump similarly referred to jobs, when he pulled the U.S. out of the deal in February 2017.

“Key sectors will benefit from this agreement including agriculture, fish and seafood, information and communications technologies, chemicals, and services (including financial, professional, and environmental),” the statement said. With its geographical advantage and removed tariffs, the deal will vastly improve Australian exports of salmon to Asian markets.

Canada exports just 3,500 tonnes of salmon worth about C$23 million to Asia, as 97 percent of its exports are U.S.-bound. However, the sector generates C$3 billion in economic activity in Canada, and new production growth has sought markets in Asia, with Korea taking over as the fastest-growing market.

While Korea and mainland China would not be party to a new TPP agreement, growing salmon markets Singapore and Hong Kong are. Tariffs between all TPP countries would “immediately” be eliminated, according to a statement sent to Salmonbusiness by Canadian trade officials.

CPTPP countries represent 495 million people, and any new CPTPP deal would drop provisions that were originally agreed under TPP that would have affected day-to-day items like express delivery services, patent terms, test data and biological information.