Canada’s entry into a resurrected Trans-Pacific Partnership bodes well for the province and for the country, say those in the know.
Speaking at Keystone Agricultural Producers annual general meeting in Winnipeg last week, Manitoba’s Minister of Agriculture Ralph Eichler, said the pork industry will be the biggest winner under the new deal, which was rechristened as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership during talks in Japan earlier this year.
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Beef and honey will also see substantial benefits, according to the minister.
“It’s an opportunity… to get in on the ground floor if you will. We’ve done a number of trade deals over the past number of years, but certainly this will open the door for more opportunities,” said Eichler, noting that Japan in particular is a significant importer of Canadian beef, as well as pork. Vietnam is also a big importer of pork products.
When U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the original Trans-Pacific Partnership last January, many believed the deal was dead. However, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and Canada ultimately forged on ahead.
“I’m not overly concerned that the United States is not in on it,” Eichler said. “I see it as an opportunity for Canada to really focus on getting more deals done before they finally do decide to come in, if they do decide to come in.”
Dermot Hayes, an American economist and consultant to the U.S. National Pork Producers Council said it’s likely that the U.S. will likely remain out in the cold even after the “craziness” in Washington subsides.
“I think the U.S. will recognize, eventually, that not participating in these agreements is against its long-run, vested interests, but that’s not the case right now, right now we’re measuring benefits of trade based on a simple number called the visible trade deficit and eventually we need to realize that Canada will have preferential access, the European Union will have preferential access,” said Hayes. “I don’t think the other countries will let us back in, all 11 countries would have to vote yes and if you’re in Canadian agriculture and you have that preferential access to Japan, do you want the Americans in that market? I don’t think it happens.”
Continuing economic growth in China will present other trade opportunities for the U.S., but Hayes believes the U.S. has missed substantial opportunity by not participating in the reimagined Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“At some point the U.S. has to come to its senses,” he said — a process he expects to take “three more years” to complete.